A Civilized Life

A Civilized Life, originally uploaded by Denise Burks.
I guess when I commissioned this drawing of my daughter I thought that my days would be filled with soft classical music and fresh flowers and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. I was a 20 something single mother, living in Charleston, SC when I traded services with the artist Martha Thomas.  I designed a brochure for Martha and she created this beautiful portrait.  For years, I would stare at this acrylic drawing of my oldest daughter, JC, and it made that life feel possible. I used to say that it is the one thing that I would grab in case of a fire. It wasn't just that it was a picture of my sweet little "Bubba". It represented a lifestyle. Well, I still love my little girl to an unhealthy, heartaching, distraction and I still long for a tidy, serene, cerebral existence in which I drink Illy coffee served from our very own cappacino machine. But after a few hours of that kind of quiet on Sunday mornings, I'm actually ready for the noisy, messy, tooter-joke-filled hubub that comes with the suburban family package.  Although I still would like to have one of those cappacino machines sitting on our kitchen counter.

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