Once when I was a kid, my family went on holiday. My sisters and I wanted to have a day away from the farm we were camping at to take a trip to a safari park (or “drive through zoo”). So my mother agreed, but only on the condition that we had to go to an open-air museum afterwards.
My mother had an aversion to relaxation. Probably because any form of stillness left her alone with her thoughts and feelings for too long. She hated films, music, and fun fairs so we rarely got to enjoy any of them. But she could tolerate the zoo.
While we were there, she gave us sketchpads and pencils so we could sit down and draw the animals. But it wasn’t just for fun. She was an art teacher at a local school so whenever I drew it was a chance to tell me all the ways I was doing something wrong.
I love drawing so it wasn’t too much of a punishment to send me anywhere with a sketchpad and pencils. But she had to make it into a teachable moment. It would have been nice if it was simply an opportunity to spend time together. After all, what little girl doesn’t just want to hang out with her mom!