My sister was the only one in my family who cared about what made me happy. She was the only one who knew what I wanted to do with my life and the only one who asked questions. I never faulted my parents because I knew they were just doing their best, but I found myself jealous when other parents made it to school concerts, plays and sporting events. If mine made it to a parent teacher conference I was impressed. My sister and I always did have food on the table, clean clothes, a roof over our heads and for that I was grateful.
Only my sister knew that I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. A painter, if you want to get specific. My art teachers in high school pushed me to attend as many different workshops I could so I could get the exposure I needed for college scholarships. I never mentioned anything to my parents because they were convinced a steady desk job and steady life led to a fulfilled life. I wanted action. I wanted adventure. I wanted to be an artist. My first show in the Main Street Art Gallery when I was twenty-three was the only extracurricular activity my parents ever came to. I cringed when they walked in, not knowing how they would react to my abstract paintings.
“Why didn’t you ever tell us?” Was the only thing my mom said. I was relieved to see she was smiling.