Pictures by Freya, aged 4
It is hard to imagine these two pictures were painted by the same little girl on the same day: the result of one of our holiday 'art sessions' at the kitchen table, with some paper and water colour pencils and water. Freya seems to like drawing and painting in dark colours, often in black. I find it a little hard to reconcile with the funny and generally cheerful little poppet, whose favourite colour is apparently pink. Part of me is a little disturbed by the second picture - is she expressing some deep seated conflict, some hidden sadness? Am I reading too much into it?
As a parent of course I want to protect my babies from anything that could hurt or upset them but, of course, this is impossible. So the next best thing I suppose is to help them find ways of dealing with the things that may hurt or upset them, and also ways of expressing these feelings. Both of our children are highly emotional creatures and quite thin skinned. Part of me wishes they were otherwise but I hope that as a parent I can help them find a way to be 'sensitive' without being too vulnerable to every little slight or challenge that comes their way.
Being a bit 'thin skinned' myself, I have often wondered if it is not such a bad way of being. Is this part of what makes me want to write music or create things? Is it the 'thin skin' that makes me more driven to try and express things in music that I feel unable to express in words? Or that makes me more aware of those intensely moving glimpses of beauty and strangeness that are all around us? Although my 'thin skin' has been the cause of much sadness and turmoil in my life, I don't think that I would wish to be otherwise. And I hope that as our children grow into adults that they will be able to balance a healthy sense of self confidence with a sensitivity to the people and things that surround them, to be resilient but not impervious to the many experiences life will throw at them.
I hope Freya keeps expressing the amazing contrasts of life - the happy-sunny-flower-days and the big-black-gaping-mouth-days - and that she finds her own way of dealing with the ups and downs we all have to live through.