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Painted wood, last revision 2004, 29" x 20" x 31".

My son was born February 14, 1985, on my parents’ anniversary. From the first time my son furiously crawled across the room, looked back with gleeful eyes and a giggle, turned, and crawled just as furiously back, we were teaching each other the gift of letting go. My heart grew resilient from the exercise of constricting with apprehension over the departures and bursting with relief when either of our sons returned.

My first gift was an extraordinary pair of parents. I had no choice in the matter, but how I parent is a choice, a gift I give, choosing the quality and size of the gift moment by moment. I have always thought it odd that unlike the word “parent,” the word “child” is only a noun, never a verb. Yet, how I “child,” how I give in return also became a choice as I grew to adulthood.

I have been asked if I ever mourn the sculptures that never were because the space, time, money and solitude to create them rarely came together during my parenting years. I don’t. The gift of parenting was far greater than what I gave away. It forced me out of seclusion and into life. It demanded that I become a better person. It deepened my artistic well.

-Janet Geib Pretti

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