Thursday, March 12, 2009


I've had a bunch of weird feelings lately. Today, mostly. But I'm PMS/menstrual and my emotions are running high.

My niece is a talented artist. I have one of her oils as the desktop background. Here it is:

The thing is, she painted these while she was 11. If you look at the way she writes her name in the lower right hand corner, you can see that it's not an adult's handwriting.

Here is the first oil paint she ever made. I think she was not even 11 yet, or possible had just turned 11 when she painted it.

She's incredibly talented. So I was showing off her paintings and gloating as a good aunt does, and one of my co-workers asked if there was anyone else in our family that had artistic talent. This is a legitimate question. But then I was faced with a conundrum. I had only a few seconds to decide what to say. There is no one else with artistic talent in the family. Yes, I am good at my knitting and crocheting, but I cannot paint or draw. But the question was out there. I could have just said, "No, no one else in our family has artistic talent," and left it at that. But I didn't. I did say that no one else had any artistic talent, but I prefaced it with the fact that she was adopted.

I felt funny about that later. Was it the right decision? Did I reveal this information when it wasn't necessary? The question implied a genetic reason for this incredible talent that Lauren has, and I decided to address it, but I felt funny about it afterward.

It made me think of my future children. If asked the same question about them, would I reveal that information in that same situation? My gut tells me that I would have, but I'm not sure. I'm not sure where my discomfort comes from. Is it because I feel this is Lauren's information to reveal and I took a liberty? The chances of them ever meeting her is slim to none, but it still made me feel funny, like I did something wrong.

What should I have done?


Anonymous said...

Wow, her paintings are amazing!

Natalie said...

Holy crap, I love the dog painting. That she was only 11 when she did it is amazing!

I have no idea what the "right" answer is - or if there even is one. I have a feeling it's along the lines of how I will answer "is this your first child?" Sometimes you answer the whole picture... sometimes you gloss over the details. Neither is really right. Both feel awkward. There is no simple answer like people expect.

Dramalish said...

I love the art.

You will make the right decisons about your children... That fact that you're pondering these questions proves what a thoughtful and sensitive parent you will be.

Hope it's soon. Hope, hope, hope. :)

ultimatejourney said...

She is incredibly talented.

I think how to handle it depends on the situation. If a stranger makes small talk in the supermarket, there's probably no reason to reveal any information about a child's origins. (Though this scenario would more likely apply to your future children.) I'd be more likely to mention personal details to coworkers or other people who are more a part of my life.

IMO, these questions are uncomfortable because it highlights (at least in your mind) something that's 'different'. If you don't speak up, you feel like you've hidden something. If you do speak up, you wonder if you said too much.

Nancy said...

My sister was adopted. This is something that was just a stated fact in our household. Sort of like saying she has blue eyes and blonde hair. We never grew up thinking about it as something with a stigma, and if that is how your niece was raised, then you should not feel guilty at all. I really believe that some things are just genetic, and your niece may well have inherited some of her artistic talent. It's great and it's part of who she is. She should celebrate that and no one should be embarrassed about talking about it. Those pictures are really beautiful.