Ever since you were a baby, color has been extremely important to you. As long as I can remember, you knew what your favorite color was (first it was “all colors,” and then turquoise or a light blue.)
At one point, you wanted to know what mom’s favorite color was (purple), and then mine (orange). Since you started drawing, you’ve been creating symbolic kidscapes of all kinds that represented the family to you: blue, purple and orange to symbolize our trinity. Over our bed right now is a GIANT, bed-width, kid-height picture of two flowers made up of those same three colors. You put it together painstakingly by taping a bazillion pieces of paper together–a gift you made to fill the empty space between our wall lamps. I told you it would only be temporary. That was about two years ago.
This affinity for colors and symbols was so new, so different from us, so visual. It was all your idea, an impulse you had to represent your family symbolically–sometimes with shapes or other abstractions.
I remember having to reach back and struggle to come up with a favorite color when you asked me. I’ve never been big on superlatives and don’t think much about colors either, but I do remember once having a distinct fondness for “orange,” so that’s what I said. Little did I know it would become such an important answer: the color of every gift you make me, the shirt I wear in every drawing of me, even the essence of me in your own symbolic language.
I can’t explain why, but it’s one of the things I most adore about you. And now orange is absolutely, unarguably my favorite color. Hands down.
For your first day of Kindergarten, I gave you a gift: a necklace that I made, which involved going to Dave’s Rock Shop, asking how the heck you make a necklace, getting a crash course, meticulously choosing the right stones, and then going home and making it. I made it blue, orange and purple. I told you it was so you could feel like you had us with you on your first day of school. You were maybe too young to fully appreciate the gesture, (and recently you confessed that you found it a bit “crooked”) but you liked it; you received it gracefully, an ambassador accepting an awkward gift from her host country that was meant to remind her of home. When I gave you the necklace, you asked me where “green” was for Simon. And whatever the favorite color was for All Colors Cinnamon Brown, your beta fish. I had deliberately left them off because I wanted the gift to make more sense to you when you were older. (There’s probably a lesson in there for me, and some metaphor for this blog, but I’ll just let it go.)
I never would have thought to make that for you if you hadn’t come into my life and taught me to think in colors and symbols. That’s all you.