Instead he turned out to be a Jackson Pollock, splashed lively with bright primary colors criss-crossing and blending into secondary pigments, and splatters of black. He's brighter, blazing, more vibrant than I thought he would be. He's also darker, more demanding, louder than I anticipated. His roots run deep as an old tree, and he's stable as an evergreen, but he's by turns flowering with tropical blooms, coated in ice and snow like a pine bough, dry and industrious like prairie grass, or crashing and smashing like a broken branch against a glass window in a windstorm.
I think of myself in shades of blue, and pale browns. Soft, watercolor, background shades. Defining the space, but accommodating. On the one hand, I'm the sky and the water and the earth; I'm everything. On the other, I'm seldom foreground; I ask for little and offer open space to grow up or out or anywhere at all; I'm nothing. It all depends on the day.
Our son is yellow, orange, burning red, or cooling green. He's generally a happy soul, these days seeking language that burns bright red to look for and soothes cool green to find, or explodes in bright yellow bursts. His essence is pure, sunny, light. He leans wide-eyed into circles of strangers and smiles, like the sun. He burns orange out of the quiet purple hush of our home, looking for knowledge like kindling to burn, seeking kindred spirits, racing into life like a million green buds in spring bursting into leaves in the hot, muggy summer. We watch him in awe.
We'll teach him to burn long over time, like a big, fat log smoldering into charcoal that will calcify into crystal, but never die. Even after we're gone, we'll be floating around somewhere, like chimney smoke curling up and dancing into cold winter air. We may pass some time in a pale gray purgatory, but never gone for good: matter is neither created, nor destroyed, just rearranged. Just biding time til the soul's next spring, raring to burst into technicolor again out of the dingy white waiting of winter.
UPDATE: My husband has informed me that he is not, in fact, a Jackson Pollock, but more of a Hans Hoffman. I checked it out, and he is, indeed, more of a Hoffman. I stand corrected! He agreed that I'm a watercolor, and specified that he thinks I'm a J.W. Turner. Don't try to use art metaphors when you're married to an artist unless you don't mind a little second guessing! He's thinking about the boy for me. He was so quick and on target for both of us that I can't wait to see what he comes up with!