On a sunny and calm day in late 2015, my artist wife told me she was applying to a new-to-us art show. It was called Night of Artists.
I couldn’t have been any more enthusiastic and supportive as I continued to scroll through the news feed on my iPhone while I sat docile on our living room couch.
“Great,” I said. “One single night makes it easy for us.”
Art shows usually run across an entire weekend. So, to learn it was only one night meant I wouldn’t be left as a single parent with our kids like I would for the other art shows on her annual business calendar.
Yet, without a hint of remorse, she promptly informed me that Night of Artists would take her away from our family for an entire weekend plus a load-in day earlier in the week.
Immediately, I stopped scrolling. I started hyperventilating. My eyes rolled into the back of my head. I fell unconscious off the couch to the floor in a heap on top of my phone.
Well, in my mind, at least.
Friday. Saturday. And Sunday. All three days! AND a morning or afternoon earlier in the week.
I’m married to an artist, but I wasn’t equipped to deal with another full weekend of her being away, I thought.
At the time, our son was five years old and our daughter was in her terrible twos. Neither was in school yet, and they needed constant attention.
Did I mention terrible twos? Our daughter. In her terrible twos!
“B… b… but you said Night of Artists,” I spat out finally, being very careful to emphasize the singular nature of the word “night” in the sentence.
She looked at me with that look. The look that says everything that goes unsaid. Everything from “Suck it up, buttercup” to “Stop being a diva” to “I look after the kids all day when you’re at work so don’t give me this grief when I need to work.”
Following that look, I dropped what was obviously going to be a well-founded, thought-out, and deeply moving speech. I preferred surviving and making it to that weekend instead of the alternative that would come if I spoke another word.
In the end, she was successful in her application.
Night of Artists has definitely been worth the family commitment. I’m grateful for the artist community my wife found through it. Not just because many have been among the first to agree to being featured in Artist Spotlight, but because they are incredibly supportive of each other and my wife.
That name, however, could be made plural to help soften the blow to unsuspecting spouses who are married to artists.