Friday, July 22, 2011

Stroke of Genius

Oh the difference a year can make.

This time last year the girls were still very much our household Anti-Artists. Born to a self-defined Lifelong Crafter and an admitted Perfectionist, my non-coloring, non-drawing, non-crafting children were a mild source of bemusement to me.

It's not to say they were not creative. Not at all. Put these two together and they'd come up with a new language, new game, a new reality. They've always been extremely creative, but their choice of medium just never matched my own.

While this was okay with me, (let it not be said I am a Craft Enforcer, please), the teacher in me saw the potential set backs their lack of practice would herald in the arena of fine motor skills in school. Deciding to let that rug unroll on as it would, I was not surprised that they did struggle with writing and with using scissors in school. Improvement was vast with one-on-one therapy, but interest still waned and never really took off.

Until this summer.

Suddenly my once stagnant artists have found their collective voices. Caedance spends her days writing and illustrating her own little books. Once needing my assistance and guidance through the process, she now sits and will diligently plod away for hours (yes, hours I tell you), on her various creations. I've lost count of how many handmade books she's created, and toted around with her; tattered, well-read, shared and shared again, cherished.

While Caedance has embraced the medium of paper, Ashlyn has opted to express her inner artiste on chalkboard. In a spree of "Last Ditch Effort", we put several in our house a few years ago in hopes of stirring some desire to hold something in their hands and create. No dice back then, but we've hit the jackpot now. Every time I pass one of the boards, I find a drawing or two on it, always changing, always evolving. She'll stand before the board in thought, as if surveying her canvas to determine the correct placement of her forthcoming masterpiece. And then she unleashes the fury that is her art; unrelenting and truthful.

I'm grateful that we chose not to overstress about their extreme lack of interest in the past, even given the issues it caused in school. As much as I would have loved to lighten their load during the times of stress and frustration, I can see very clearly how those struggles shaped a part of who they are right now. It gave them each her own motivation to move on and go forward. When Caedance completes her umpteenth book today, or Ashlyn sketches out her next epic chalk creation, it won't be my voice in their heads pushing them on. It's their own.

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