It seemed like an innocent question coming from my eight-year-old son. “Mom, will you take me to the park?”
I gave him my standard answer when I can’t make a firm commitment. “Sure. Sometime.”
I should have known it wouldn’t be enough. “When?”
“I don’t know. Not today. It’s cold and windy.”
“Okay. But when?”
“Not now. Do your homework.” That usually stops all pestering dead in its tracks.
“I need to go to the park,” he insisted, and so I stopped what I was doing to see what this was all about.
It seems that my son had come up with yet another scheme to make money. First it was making Lego figurines and setting up shop in the foyer on our antique desk. A hand-scrawled sign announced: STOR OPN. He sat at the miniature chair and waited for family members to pull out change and buy his creations.
But then he discovered that if he rented his Lego masterpieces, he not only got the toys back but that he got return customers. All summer he badgered us into coughing up our spare change to fund his quest to fill his piggy bank.
Next it was drawings. The same desk was cleaned out of Lego pieces and plastered with his latest artwork. His sister snagged the best of the lot – a very cool book mark which she won after a short bidding war with her dad. The rest of us ponied up more money and took our new pictures to our rooms.
And yet my little guy’s coffers were not as full as he needed in order to buy a new Wii game, and so he stood in the living room begging me to take him to the park.
“I can set up a table and sell artwork to people in the park,” he said. “They can buy them as gifts.”
“People are not going to buy stuff in the park,” I told him. “They’re out there to exercise or walk their dogs. They won’t have money.”
“They’ll come back with money after they see my art,” he said.
“I am not sitting out in a cold park,” I told him, almost ready to just offer him the additional $30 he needed.
“Okay. I’ll walk around the neighborhood, then.”
“No. You’re too young.”
Deflated, he trudged back to his room. A little voice inside me – actually a very loud voice – told me that I could not kill this one for him. “I’ll call a lady I know,” I told him.
He stopped and turned, a wide smile on his face. “Who?”
“She owns a gallery downtown. You put some of your best things together, and I’ll go talk to her. I can’t promise anything, but I’ll try.”
And so now he’s busy creating his first show, and I’m wondering what I got myself into. What was I thinking? I’ll let you know – I may need you to come buy some of his artwork just so I can get some peace and quiet.