I feel the drag of not writing for what feels like a long time. Checking now — and two weeks is as long as I can go. Sometimes, like this time, I mean to catch up but don’t want to or cannot take the time, lose more time, lose momentum and refuse to write. Until I cannot stand it any longer, and that is today.
I’ve had the odd feeling for a few days that I have been rehearsing living for quite a while and that I am now living. It has to do with grieving — that sheer will of putting one foot in front of the other day after day no matter the reason, the need to survive for a child, for a reason unnamed, the confusion of why. I did not realize that this was what I was doing. Yes, the willful survival during the first year or so, but I imagined myself past that a long time ago. Last week, I realized as I was making my bed that I no longer pull up the covers with the promise that I will live the day and be rewarded with a warm bed and the oblivion of sleep when I am tired. It startled me that I did not need the promise of oblivion to begin and get through the day. I did not even remember when and if I first made that promise to myself.
- Last weekend’s RE class was long and boring, too much material and just many, many words without illustration and only one diversion — a “science” experiment, pouring different liquids into a cup to watch them turn colors and wipe away color. It was an illustration of an closed and open mind. Julia was quiet, sometimes preoccupied with picking fingers or her own thoughts, but not at all disruptive. After class, I asked Julia what the class was about. She was able to tell me about the science experiment and absolutely nothing else. Words, without embellishment, just don’t work for her. This is not a new observation but a good reminder as I get ready to talk to middle school teachers.
- We are still riding the new big bike around the block whenever it is warm enough to do that. I am still running behind her. She is not yet secure enough to take on more. However, balance is good and she is consistently braking with hand brakes and not jumping off the bike. Getting started is not always easy. I am hoping to have the patience to wait her out and run around the block until she is ready to go further.
- At Gallery Night last Friday at Randall School, Julia sold the six pictures of birds that she drew for the event. Julia has had a hard time letting go of her work to anyone. Favorite teachers and therapists have asked for a picture that Julia has made and she has flatly refused. So this felt like a big step. Money helped. She took her $6 (and we could have charged more) and spent it on what other kids made — a big yellow flower and a pen with a flower on one end.
Some friends have offered to buy pictures from Julia’s fairy dinosaur ballerinas series. We made prints for teachers last year at the end of school. I am wondering if I can interest her in making more pictures and also making prints and/or cards as a summer project. We could sell to friends and if we did a healthy number have a booth at our church art fair which is in the fall. I see a number of reasons to take on such a project. My hesitation is Julia’s ownership of it. For so much of the time, it is me or teachers or therapists who lead the way for Julia — setting up experiences, guiding her through them and then doing most of the reflection when the experience is over. I admit that at time, I get tired of leading her. Typical children are led as well — the decision to engage in suzuki lessons after a very little child expresses an interest is about leading. It is more than a rare four year old, or 7 or 10 year old who wants to practice daily. And I guess I am still on that typical child’s calendar. By 13, I expect that the child will want what they are doing at least as much or better still more than the parent. Not so with Julia and I hope that I am doing what is best when I devise and push projects and activities.
Last Friday, during Gallery Night an art teacher from another school in town did henna hand painting. Julia and I both had our hand painted — hers in a lotus design, mine with a sunflower. The flowers were lovely and I so enjoyed the decoration. Mine is gently fading; Julia’s less so. I have my hands in more water than she does. This is the child who will one day get a tattoo.
I have joined the Forgiveness Challenge (http://journey.forgivenesschallenge.com), Desmond and Mpho Tutu’s 30-day, world wide online workshop. I am on day 3. Of course, there is much work to do.