Sibling Affection and Paternal Abstraction as Drawn By a Six-Year-Old; or, Aren’t My Daughter’s Drawings Cute?

My six-year-old daughter is a very visual thinker, who absolutely adores her brother. About a year ago, I stumbled across a notebook of sketches I made in 1980, when I was 12, and I remember how much I enjoyed drawing gadgets and cityscapes.

IMG_5358So I bought a notebook and some mechanical pencils, thinking I’d encourage my daughter to express herself through art, and maybe in the process reawaken the visual part of my brain.

So, in my spare moments around the house, I started sketching web page layouts, or characters and props from the bedtime stories I’ve been telling my daughter. (Recently, I had a burning need to know what an engine room looked like in our ether-powered blimpship.)

Carolyn has picked up the habit from me — we supply her with little notebooks which she happily fills up.  She drew this picture during church this weekend. There’s Carolyn on the left (note the “C” floating above her head) snuggled up against her brother Peter.  Note also the little hearts inside the letters.

At the time she drew the above picture, I was sitting between Carolyn and Peter, and I wouldn’t let her squirm across me to show this picture to her brother.  Blinking back tears, Carolyn sat down in the pew and drew another, very different picture:

IMG_5364That’s Carolyn on the left again, with a heart hovering over head as before — only now the heart is broken, and each broken half contains the letter “P”. One finger points to herself, the other points pleadingly towards her brother (whose shoulders droop in sorrow, and whose own floating broken heart contains little “C”s).

I have been reduced to a vertical barrier — an impersonal force separating the two siblings.