“Mom! Look how much my hand has grown!”

We were sitting on the bench at Fountain Park pool waiting for my daughter to get dressed after their yearly round of swimming lessons. There is a public art installation of the hand prints of donors that helped contribute to the renovations done over a decade ago.

My son’s hand has grown from Landon’s size to more like a Jacques-size hand. He tells me that he can’t wait for it to be a Gary-sized hand.

We have done this for years. Sometimes it drives me crazy. I want to get home to make supper or I have some other seemingly important thing to do that likely isn’t important at all. Each time we put on our shoes one of them needs to see who they are that day.

My kids are getting older and their emotional lives are more complex. This time my son asked, “How old is Landon now?”

I’m guessing Landon is about 20 or so. It is interesting to think of the years. How is he doing? Does he still live in St. Albert? Where is his family? My son and I talked for quite awhile about Landon. It is amazing the life we made up for him in our heads. Once my daughter dried her hair and joined us, she joined in on the fun. She decided that her hand was more the size of a grown up hand. You see at 10 she is growing fast and in her opinion is practically an adult.

There has been a lot of talk about public art in my small town in the last few days. There is concern over the cost. There is concern over how it looks, what people like, where it should be. I don’t have the answers to these questions. We as a collective whole need to make these types of decisions.

I do know that my kids like to hug the statue of Lois Hole. They like to pretend that the Bear behind St. Albert Place is eating them. I do know that I like to stare at the mural near the clock tower and contemplate how an artist got those little pictures to look like something different when they are all put together. I also know that others have had the same conversations and thoughts. I am not alone. I am part of something bigger.

I also know that public art is surprising. It makes us talk, laugh complain and connect. It connects us to the past, present and future. I know that these things are critical to our mental health.

Landon, if you are out there, I hope your life is as interesting as my son believes it to be. That said I highly doubt you are an astronaut that has a side job as a cop. Just know that our family is thinking of you. We hope that if you decide to have kids, they also get to compare handprints with the rest of the community.


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St. Albert Gazette

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