Family Talents

I sat at my desk today feeling a little nostalgic, thinking about my mother’s ability to draw and paint. She took a few classes decades ago and dabbled a bit with a few paintings. They weren’t what you would call great, but they were nice. She definitely had an eye for color and pleasing subject matter. (Her father painted also and all of his works were distributed to the family many years ago.) I like to look at her paintings sometimes just because it brings back memories of her. I can almost hear her voice and see her hands.

Those hands could also play the piano. I still have her piano music– stacks of it– yellowed with age, none of which I can play because I never learned how. As I was sitting at the desk thinking of these things I wished that I had learned how to do them too. It may have been something we could have shared.

If you’re a parent you know that your children go off in their own directions and pursue their own interests. You take joy from seeing them grow and become their own individual self. As a child, you’re busy learning and making your way in life, cutting those apron strings so you can be who you are. Perhaps it’s only later in life that we reflect on things like this and wish we had taken more of an interest at the time.

One thing I was interested in, but never did learn to do, was ice skating. My sister could. She had a pair of skates. She and all the neighborhood kids would go the ponds in the woods and looked so graceful and strong skating around on the milky white ice. I shuffled along on the frozen pond in my winter boots, trying not to fall. I could never keep up with the kids on the skates though. I wanted to learn so I could fly around on the ice with them, but never had skates of my own. And of course when you’re kids, your siblings are not always inclined to share with you. Her feet were bigger than mine anyway so I couldn’t wear them. Being a kid I just tagged along and found other things to do and enjoyed watching them.

At my age there are many things I can still learn to do, and of course there are things I will never learn to do because the body no longer has the ability. I’m dabbling with a bit of basic drawing skills now and then as I have time. Ice skating is something I do in my mind’s eye with abundant grace and ease (and I never fall!). 

What talents did your family members have that you wish you had learned to do? What memories do they bring up for you? Have you taken any steps to begin learning how to do those things?

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