I wish I was 5

I wish I was 5.

Today was the first day since forever I wished I wasn’t what or who I am. Why is that you say? Well, because…

I face paint occasionally for corporate parties in and around Edmonton. I specialize in cheek art but sometimes I am paired with another artist who only does full face. There is often a line up of children as far as the eye can see. I can knock off a decent piece in 5 minutes or less. Typically this is the type of stuff I do,

I am well equipt for things like that. Small brushes, small pallets of paint and sparkles. Days like today, I need to be prepared for someone to say…I WANT THAT! Hmmm okay. I can copy most things. If you have a picture I can draw it. But it takes more time… The kids are great and could care less how long they are in line for. It is their parents that put the pressure on you to speed it up. This particular party was the best kind. The parents stayed back and let their children come forward alone. I had requests like “I want to be sparkly beautiful” Or “I need a pirate patch…do you know what a good one looks like?” My favorite was “WOW you don’t colour outside the lines! I wish I could do that!”

My first paint of the day started off with a tragic event.

A young girl about 5 came running up to me. Yes there was other entertainers waiting to start. Chairs were empty and we were just beginning. This little one ran up to me with tears in her eyes telling me how her brother clobbered her on the side of her ear. She hugged me and sat in my chair. Her little hands were placed on my knees as she retold the tragic events of the day. Tears were streaming down her cheeks. I listened with the sympathetic ear that only another sister could understand. Then I asked her what did she need to feel better? Was there anything I could do?

She looked at me thoughtfully and said very solemnly “I need a face paint”

I rejoiced! I told her she came to the right place and I was the one who could help her!! I wiped her tears and asked her what her preference was. I have no examples at my station because I will do anything they ask for. Children have their own vision and will tell you how they want the details to appear. Besides it cuts down a TON of time if they don’t have anything to choose from.

This young one wanted a full face butterfly with sparkles and it had to be pink and purple. So I painted her full face with her nose as the center of the butterfly. I added white at the end for sparkle and shine and silver glitter to top it off.

As I held the mirror up to her face, I was rewarded with a smile that melts the stoniest of hearts. She said, “I feel so much better now that I am a butterfly!” She made my day. The best part? It got better from then on in.

As I reflect back over my 20 odd year career as a children’s entertainer, I can remember specific kids who left me with a long lasting impression during that 5 minutes we spent together. I remember the bald little girl with the blue eyes who wanted a sunflower on the top of her head like a hat. Then she had me paint eyelashes on her pretty little face. There was a little boy who loved trains. He didn’t want Thomas like all his buddies did but wanted Duncan. I happened to know who Duncan was because my son was a lover of the Thomas Train Stories too. He lit up like a Christmas tree when he saw how accurate I was. My favorite was a tiny little baby who was fussing but mom insisted I paint her. Mom held her in her lap as I talked to the baby. She stopped crying and just stared at me. She sat very still while I painted a stream of ladybugs down the side of her face. The end of the day, I walked past her and she reached for me to hug. Her mom threw her into my arms and we shared a moment.

But to have the chance to be 5 again? When a simple butterfly can make all the pain of the day go away. That sounds like heaven to me.

I have the next best thing…I get to paint them.