On the days when it is not raining, when it is sweet and warm and sunny like it is today, I am compelled to go out. No agenda in particular, just out, hoarding the feeling of the weather like it was gold or myrrh or Frankenstein or whatever. The day started out sadly, however, with the pout and sniffle of MissSix, and the unfairness of her getting a cold on a playdate day. I follow strict Parent Code on this issue: Do Not Send A Sick Kid To Someone’s Else Home, Even If Desperate. So I had to tell her that the playdate was off as she tried for some minutes to convince me that she was not sick at all, just that her nose was crying and her head was hot. It was time for me to head off to my appointment with Slappin’ Sarah, but I told her that if she was feeling better from the Magic Motrin by the time I got back, we could go out and do something together. She agreed that out was good, and stopped crying.

I returned in no time flat, and we negotiated our outing. MissSix wanted beach, but I knew what beach meant – filthy wet smelly child – not something I thought was prudent for a young lady with a cold. She swore she would stay on the grass only, but I still said no. She would no more be able to resist flinging herself in the water than our dog. So we decided to head over to the OOGCP for a cool drink and small snack, and she would bring her portable art case along and me my computer. She would draw, I would write, and we would be Out.

She decided that she wanted to draw the big fountain there first, so she set up her little art station and did just that. Two women about 10 years older than me noticed her after a bit, asked me if that was my daughter, and I nodded and said yes, she is an artist, and smiled. I didn’t say she pretends to be an artist, or would like to someday be an artist because art is not just for the accomplished or adult. She is an artist, as much as anyone in the world, and I respect the joy and passion she has for it. The ladies cooed and awwwed over her as she kept on with her mission, focused and unaware of anything else. I let her do her thing, and attempted to see my computer screen in the bright sunshine while nomming on a chocolate croissant, which was getting melty in the heat.

She finished her drawing and decided that she wanted to sell it, and wrote a backwards “2$” on it, and made up a sign that said “OPEN.” I watched, and said little. Another lesson for artists is that not everything you make is going to be instantly bought by a rapturous public. Certainly the yellow lab wearing a huge red bow that walked by didn’t have two bucks, and the dad chasing his running toddler who was heading like a steam train towards the fountain didn’t have time to dig out two bucks either. She asked me if she could call out “FREE ART FOR SALE!” and I said no, that the people relaxing with their coffees probably would not dig that. I did not go into the inconsistencies of her sentence, either.

Not terribly disappointed at her lack of income, she asked if we could go get our nails done, and I said yes. It is so nice to say yes sometimes, it really is. Just yes. I have to say no so often. We picked out very similar shades of very light pearlescent blue and sat next to each other and smiled as “Ellen” and “Sara” painted us up, blabbing away in Vietnamese. After that, we headed off to the grocery store and picked up bananas and meat and cheese and bread and whatever else added up to $300; MissSix got to pick out Lucky Charms cereal and some lovely hot pink Gerbera daisies. She carried the bouquet around the store like a princess, asked me to marry her, and giggled loudly at the thought.

Out was then done, the art case brought home, groceries put away. MissSix found a blanket and pillow, and fell asleep on the floor next to me and I hear her breathe now as I type, a little snotty but comfortingly even and quiet. Out was good.