The Little Storytelling Artist

Wednesday night is our Skype night. Usually Donkey sets up one of his computers up in the living room for the kids and I to Skype, and he sits at the desk and works on his other computer. The same Donkey who can’t afford preschool owns two computers. Most visits I see the kids, and him off to the left side of the screen. Other visits he’s in the kitchen, but he’s always visible and ever present for our Skypes, which he also records.

Skype & Donkey

My son fell asleep tonight before our 5pm Skype. He has Strep Throat and is on antibiotics, and the strain of being sick all weekend, seeing the Urgent Care doctor Monday, going to karate class last night, and going back to school today was more than his body could handle. Donkey put my daughter in her room to Skype with me, and he shut the door, so we had some time alone together. For the first time since he took custody nine months ago, we had privacy for our Skype visit.

She brought her paper and crayons to the computer and colored pictures. First she showed me the picture she painted the other day. She painted this one especially for me. Every picture has a story, and this picture had the story of how much Mommy loves her little artist and that daddy took her far away, but she will come home to be with Mommy and give her much hugs.

Video call snapshot 111

Then she started drawing new pictures, nine of them. Most of the stories went something like this: “Artist Isy and her Mommy are going to be really happy and her is going to hug me and hug me and hug me A LOT. And when her hugs me a lot, I am going to hug her a lot, really a lot. And her loves me all the way to the moon and back and all day long. I really love her when her loves me.” But even though the story remained basically the same, about Mommy and love and hugs, the pictures got less colorful.

Drawing 1

And less and less colorful.

Drawing 2

Until there was only black and red, and then only black.

Drawings 3-5

And less and less picture and more and more lines.

Drawings 7-9

In the middle of all of these pictures, she drew a different picture and told a different story. “In this picture, daddy didn’t throw you through the door and you had a lot of more babies in your tummy.”

Drawing 6



  1. This destroys me. I can’t imagine what it does to you, Melanie. XOXO

    1. I went to pieces after the Skype. During it I just listened and watched, and then took pictures of her masterpieces because that helps her feel special about her creations (and gives me a record).

  2. My heart aches for you. We were just talking about these choice of colors a couple weeks ago. Soon when Isy is back with you she will choose purple , yellow and pink !!

    1. I thought about what you had told me when I saw her colors changing. All that black and red. So sad.

  3. Oh Melanie, I can’t imagine how much this hurts. I hope you get to see them soon xo

    1. I pick them up next Friday, and we get the whole 3-day weekend together (unless Donkey comes up with some excuse to cancel it). I can’t wait. They also start their new art classes this Friday. I’m excited and worried.

      1. here’s hoping Donkey doesn’t find any excuses! i hope the art classes go wonderfully! sending hugs your way. xo

  4. Heartbreaking. I hope you do get to see them next weekend and give them lots of hugs!

    1. Me too, and there will be hugs. Much hugs, as my daughter would say.

  5. That is no way to raise children and they will remember when they are old enough to be free of him.

    1. You’re right. Their quality of life isn’t what it used to be. Sure, they have toys and every cable channel a kids could want, but they don’t have friends, go to playdates, or have sleepovers. The only reason they have activities outside of school is because I’m paying for it (half for karate and all for art).

      1. So sad. You are a good mother, they will come to you soon.
        God bless.

  6. Oh my…. :-/ I’ve got nothing. Our battle of wits has rendered me useless to provide any sort of insight here. So, as is often the case when my mind and my words fail me, I offer this instead: *HUGS*

    1. Hugs are always acceptable, and often the best and only thing to say.

speak loudly, donkeys are sleeping

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