Last week, I asked one of Julia’s art teachers for an update on how she was doing in class. Learning Adobe Illustrator is not second nature to Julia (or me, I might add). The answer was that she is doing okay but not getting any of the larger art concepts. Oh, how I wish she was. But I am not surprised. That is Julia in all her classes. She doesn’t take history because she is awful at time and although she is okay at memorizing dates, people and the causes of any war, she doesn’t get any bigger pictures.
But I’ve held onto much more hope for art. She has probably drawn more pictures and made more clay figures than any ten kids put together. That counts for something, right?
I have, I admit, grabbed hard onto the notion that Julia could at some point in the future make a future from doing art. Of some kind. In some capacity. But since she has been in high school, I’ve seen plenty of typical kid art that shows an understanding of the bigger concepts and a sophistication that Julia just lacks.
And I wonder at my putting all my eggs into the art basket. I have had to insist on art classes for Julia when some have suggested more practical classes. I have not allowed myself doubt for awhile. Julia has talent and she will do art. Today, I question how much of my faith and hope lies in my clutching desire to have her succeed on typical terms somewhere, somehow.
Like most parents of kids with disabilities, most of my friends have typical kids. These days, they are talking about visiting colleges and how much time the application process takes, about long drives to music/sports/science/theater related competitions where they find out their kid is going to state and the season is further extended, and how to handle the newest driver in the house. I try to convince myself that I had all that with Cheshire; I don’t really need it again. Of course, I don’t, but a bit of envy and sadness gets in my way.
You see, deep down, I really want Julia to have all those experiences. I recognize those experiences. I want it for her, and I want it for me. It is infinitely easier to tick off mile stones and feel somewhat comfortable in a future. I am still swimming in the sea of ambiguity. Some days I take too many swallows of sea water.
And Julia is doing well, albeit the struggle over head scratching and losing hair is an awful challenge right now, she is multiplying and dividing by fractions and took the regular (not modified) earth science test (even though she didn’t pass it). I share sometimes with some people, and bless them, they respond, but in a large group of parents I add little and I go home and worry.
The last time, I wrote one of these worry articles, a wise and experienced friend cautioned me to have patience. Not the regular-sized typical parent patience, but patience until long after those typical kids have been launched, long term unsinkable patience almost without end. Can I buy such a big dose over the counter or do I need a prescription?
And yeah, I can do this.
I responded to the art teacher’s email, asking about next semester. Is Julia getting enough to continue? Hopefully, yes, I still don’t want her to take cooking instead of art. And there is always drawing. We swim on in this life without recognizable direction. Sometimes I put my little fish on a bike; sometimes she peddles.