For our prompt of “Candy,” I chose the kind of candy I remember having during the holiday season when I was a kid. In truth, I didn’t particularly adore the candy inside as much as the shiny wrapped exterior that made it feel like opening a tiny early Christmas gift. I didn’t actually have candy of any kind today, as I moved from my family visit directly to a work presentation in North Carolina. Then my flight was delayed in that mysterious way that makes you begin to wonder if it’s going to be cancelled. Thankfully it wasn’t, and just an hour and a half later than expected I was back home once again. While I was still away, Philippe sent me photos of our dog Phineas who was beyond excited to be picked up from the pet resort this morning. Though he’s normally a rather docile dog that looks more like he’s judging you than particularly enthused by your presence, absence does indeed make the heart grow noticeably fonder. When I finally returned home this evening, I receive a few tail wags, also rare, but by then all of the excessive display of pleasure had been mostly exhausted. And, I myself felt the same. So we just cuddled for a bit before I took a break to sketch this bit of candy. Our trio is now fully reunited and it feels like the sweetest moment of all.

I’m not one to quickly set about unpacking my travel bag. Many times, it will sit on the table a few days before I can bring myself to deal with it. This will likely happen this time as I hear the dryer running, meaning Philippe already dealt with his clothes, so now I’m left entirely on my own. At most, I was able to retrieve my various power cords, that I impressively remembered to pack in the first place. While doing so, I stumbled across a couple of little gifts nestled in my bag. My mother wasn’t able to complete my movie version of Paddington Bear since she didn’t have the correct fur and insisted on finding another to get things just right. I wasn’t bothered at all, but suddenly my whole family was worried that I wouldn’t be taking a teddy bear home with me. So, first, my sister arrived at the end with a tiny jointed bear that she found at a garage sale. It was adorable and could quite possibly be a collector’s item, but that wouldn’t make much difference to me because it was made awesome simply because it was a bear from her.

Then, as we were leaving to head into the airport, my mother said my niece had suggested that she simply dress a little bear she already had like Paddington. That’s when my mom presented me with parting gift in the form of a tiny circular silver case that had a clear window. Staring back at me was a tiny little Paddington Bear. The clothing and hat had all been crocheted, and my mom had secretly created it while we were there. My heart skipped several beats. This wasn’t the bear I had requested, but was exactly the bear I needed. I don’t own a single piece of crochet from my mother, and yet that’s always been her specialty. She’d never made a Paddington Bear in this way so it never occurred to me to ask. I took it and gave her a hug, holding her close and tight, and simply saying, “Thank you. I love you.” My eyes were suddenly filling up with tears, but I instead made a little joke I can’t remember, which is the way things go in my family. But, I’ll never forget that simple and wonderful moment. Sometimes in life, it’s the little things we don’t expect that can often become sweeter than candy.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Quinacridone Red, Leaf Green, Cobalt Turquoise, and Ultramarine (Green Shade). Staedtler Pigment Liners in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Christmas Foil Wrapped Candy Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail

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41 thoughts on “Sweeter Than Candy

  1. Wonderful story about your mom and the Paddington Bear. Lots of love between mother and son, as it should be. My son is 30, but he’ll always be my “Little Guy,” and I’ll always delight in making him happy.

  2. Welcome home! I was never a big fan of those candies either. Xmas cookies were my jam! My aunt’s cutout sugar cookies with sprinkles were the best! I’m feeling the urge to make some.

    1. Thanks, Gary! 😃💕 Glad you enjoyed this… yeah, it’s really just extreme contrast for my shiny doodlewashes. I’m sure there’s a way that takes a lot longer, but if you but a pretty dark color next to pure white, you get shine. Then I just feather things a bit with clear water. 😉

  3. THAT moment was sweeter than any candy I’ve ever tasted! Thank you for sharing it with us! It was very touching. Your art is excellent, as always, Charlie! =)

    I think the candy that most reminds me of childhood Christmas’ would have to be chocolate covered cherries. (I don’t care for those cherries at all.) I also remember getting the Lifesaver books full of rolls of lifesavers. My favorite flavor was butter rum.

    1. Thanks so much, Darlene! 😃💕 I’m so happy you enjoyed this story. It was such an exceptional moment. And yay to Lifesaver books!!! I actually told Philippe rather loudly at Target about how much I loved them, not being remotely subtle that one in my stocking would be much appreciated! lol

  4. Wonderful post, Charlie! It’s always the little moments that create the best memories for me. The lifesaver in my candy sketch were a tribute to my grandma; she had no money, lots of kids, grand kids and great grand kids and every Christmas the entire family came in to town to celebrate Christmas Eve together. And, every year she gave each child a pencil, a pad of paper and a roll of lifesaver candy. A previous Christmas memory…hmmm…maybe not such a little moment after all.

  5. Such a sweet story! I hope you share a picture of both your new little friends. I remember those candies, we never ate them because they were the least desirable and by the time we got through the rest of our candy they were soft and sticky. Lol! Good job on the reflections in them!

  6. Your very special family has given the world a very special artist, writer, friend.
    This story is a statement about values that matter, about life as it should be. It is
    about living and loving and DOing .

  7. Those power cords again – you do blame a lot on the innocent tangled bundles. Fortunately we readers are pleasantly attracted to two festively wrapped candies, posing in shiny glory, knowing that their true sweetness isn’t in the way they taste, but how they look. It’s possible these are leftover from last year because pretty much no one likes their flavor and they sit year after year in sartorial splendor. Waiting for Charlie to paint their pictures. Which he did very well, thank you.

  8. “Our trio is now fully reunited and it feels like the sweetest moment of all.” Aww, yay! And it’s nice to know Phineas lets the mask slip on such an occasion 😉 As for the candies, well, it depends what’s inside – but that’s part of the fun!

    1. Thanks, Jacob! 😃💕 hehe… yeah, I’m rather sure Phineas learns to wag his tail when with other dogs as he does it for a few days after he returns. Then it goes stoic again, but it’s pleasant while it lasts. And inside these candies are just odd sugar concoctions… they were never my favorite to eat, but I would miss them if they didn’t show up to the party. 😉

      1. Yeah, that sounds like Christmas – even the lesser traditions need to be there! And when it comes to candy on those lazy days after Christmas, really, it’s all good! 😛

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