When the chicks leave the nest, there’s a relationship dynamic that needs to be rediscovered and rebuilt with patience and a whole new respect for one another. For example, this year I remembered my husband is artistic. Now that I am his aged wife, I admire his commitment and discipline to his most recent medium: oil on canvas.
When we first met I knew he could draw and create. I enjoyed watching him sketch with his younger brother in the dining room or produce strategic military scenarios in the sandbox with his baby brother. Nowadays he and I go on Friday night dates that include a 40-70% off canvas sale or a quick stop to replenish an oil color. Our early Sunday mornings usually consist of old episodes of Bob Ross or the Jenkins. When Richie is in his own makeshift studio, I love seeing his art come to still life.
This past weekend we went into one of our girl’s abandoned bedrooms to view his gallery that is taking shape. Christmas presents and potential future sales adorn the walls. We took our conversation across the hall to our other daughter’s abandoned bedroom, to view all the stored art supplies. My artist husband was like a kid in a candy store. He excitedly counted his canvas inventory, by size, as he considered his next subject.
My more analytical perspective concluded, “At the rate you are turning out finished pieces each week, you still have a two years supply of canvas!”
“But I bought them all on sale!?”, he replied with an appreciation for commerce I wish I’d seen more of over the last 27 years.
“Yes, hon, and I know you’re excited to transform them but your storage costs will break you in the end.” Although I’d considered our gallery ambiance as romantic and thought about the Picasso series, Genius, we’d recently watched, I was unintentionally a buzz kill.
My perpetual inventory comment ruined the creative mood, so we walked outside to enjoy an Indian summer on the deck. Our preparations for winter were viewable at the back of the garage: bagged coal, stacked wood and kindling piles. We milled about watering the plants that were still enjoying the warm weather, rehung the hammock that isn’t quite ready for winter storage and added Halloween decorations to the yard.
I retrieved a fall slate for the back door, came back out on the deck, and as Richie raked wood chips near the railing he announced, “I need another 8×10.”
I became impatient. “Are you kidding me? You’re addicted! Didn’t we just have this 2-year stockpile conversation?”
He looked hurt.
Liked he’d lost respect for me.
“A tarp. I need an 8×10 foot tarp for this last small pile of seasoned wood!”
It’s our dynamic.
It doesn’t need to be rebuilt.
Our relationship is still a blend of old habits and new beginnings. I have a lot of respect for my husband’s hobby but must continue to work on the art of conversation. After all, in our family, the chicks are gone, the cock does more than a-doodle and I am still the mother hen.