The Girl in the Corner

As a dad, I do dad things.  One of the dad things I do is take Sophie to her friend’s birthday parties.  I don’t remember much about birthday parties from when I turned 5 and 6, but I don’t remember parties being this…elaborate.

I also don’t remember parents sticking around for the parties.  But I guess it’s the thing to do.  I’ve taken Sophie to a few birthday parties this year and the parents usually go all out.  Sometimes it’s a Princess Party and all the girls dress up and do…princess stuff.  One time there was a spa theme and the kids all get manicures and stuff.  Today was an Explorer Party where they did, uh, exploring stuff.  I didn’t go to the one today, Amy went this time.  I stayed home and rearranged my studio/cave.  That was fun.  I did go to the party last week, however.  It was a Magic Party.  I wanted to bring Sophie to that one, for two reasons.

1) There was going to be a magician there, and I wanted to watch Sophie watch a magic show.

2) I am probably going to bring Magic Man back in a story, and I wanted some inspiration and watch an amateur magician do his act.

Anyway, when we got to the party, the kids were all busy making magician capes, decorating their plastic top hats with stickers, but not Sophie.  She found some paper and crayons and sat in the corner at a picnic table and colored.  I asked if she wanted to make a cape, but she was feeling shy and simply wanted to color.  She sat and colored for about a half hour before she ran off to play with her friends for a bit.

It really struck me how similar she and I are to each other.  When I go to parties, which isn’t very often, I tend to stand away from the crowd, I don’t socialize much and just kind of watch everyone, wishing I was home drawing.

The party got me to thinking about if Sophie is going to grow up and keep drawing.  All kids draw, but few keep doing it after a certain age.  I know I am her parent and biased, but I think she;s pretty good.  Check out this sea turtle she drew this morning:

turtleI hope she continues to draw.  I watch cartoons with her and point out certain voices.  I’ll tell her that the same girl who does the voice of Timmy Turner is also the same girl who does the voice of Bubbles.  I show her comics, animated movies and tell her how they are made.  Someone asked me if I thought I was ruining the magic for her and cartoons, but I want Sophie to know that PEOPLE make cartoons and comics, and she can too.

When I was a kid, my brother taught me a lot about comics and how they are created.  Once I knew that comics were made by people, I realized I could make one too.  I show Sophie the drawings I make, and then show her how the drawings get made into a book.  I hope it inspires her.

I don’t know what Sophie will be when she grows up.  She doesn’t either.  Some days she wants to be a fashion designer, some days she wants to fix bikes.  I hope she does what she wants to in life.  The other day she asked what I wanted to be when I was a kid.  I told her I wanted to be a cartoonist.  She was quiet for a second, and then said “But you became a dad instead?”

She hit the nail on the head.  That’s exactly it.  I mean, I know I am a cartoonist, and I am a dad, I can be both, but in terms of making a living off comics and all that, I think I missed the boat on that.  I think if I made the decision to not fall in love, to not get married and have kids, and threw every waking moment of my life into developing my craft, I could’ve been.  But that wasn’t the decision I made.  I don’t regret it for a second.  I love being a dad more than I love being a cartoonist.  But I don’t consider myself one until Sophie falls asleep and I am free to draw.

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