Watching my daughter live the Bildungsroman of youth and early adulthood sometimes makes me wish I was the kind of person to make demands--X college--Y degree--live no more than Z hours from home. Even arranged marriage begins to have an appealing ring. Just as I wished to hold my toddler in my arms, knowing that she would stumble during her first steps and endure skinned knees and broken foreheads, I have to stand back and let my daughter find her way, skinned ego and broken hearts and all.
My daughter, Ariel, is a senior in college. After years of planning to both sing opera and be a medical doctor, she has decided to pursue vet school, a career very well suited to her personality and gifts. After all, she was once the little kid who tried to bathe the cat by licking his fur.
I decided to make an artistic piece to honor this moment when she is beginning to find her way. I want to acknowledge the many challenges, both academic and personal, that she has faced. Through having overcome these difficulties, she has become a more beautiful soul.
For my art piece, I chose to use milk glass and sea glass.
American milk glass, much like Ariel, originates in West Virginia and Ohio. Manufacturers melt sand and mix it with with bone ash, resulting in a translucent, milky, sometimes opalescent colored glass. During the Great Depression, milk glass pieces brought simple luxury into many homes. Sand and bone-how basic, how strong. I would like my daughter to know that true beauty and true strength can spring from such humble origins.
The sea glass beads illustrate how a bottle, a shard, once left behind, can, through the churning of the ocean, gather a luminous luster. Again, from humble origins comes great beauty.
And so, dear girl, this piece is for you. Keep taking those steps. A great adventure awaits you!