This week, Zack was honored as one of a few students from his school whose art was chosen to be hung in the local art museum.
One entire gallery was set aside for art, mixed media, and sculpture from children of the mid-shore area, and I was even more thrilled for Zack when I realized this wasn't just for his school, but for an entire geographic area. And more in a bit on why I was REALLY REALLY thrilled.
Zack has a very serious look on his face, but he said he felt a little embarrassed. However, I think it's safe to say he has nothing to be embarrassed about. This is his art, an African landscape.
Now, beyond my amazement at the various things Zack did to make this painting, you have to understand -- this is a child who until Kindergarten couldn't even physically hold a crayon without crying that it hurt his hand. It was all a sensory thing. He's always hated coloring books, preferring to scribble on paper on his own, but for a long, long time, I wondered if he would ever be able to make shapes. Due to his sensory and physical delays as a toddler, things that came easily to most came with a lot of tears to him.
For instance, just the feel of finger paint was murder to Zack. This was a child who couldn't stand to put his hands in anything gritty, dirty, sticky, slimy -- nothing at all that had a sensory change. For months and years we worked with him with varying degrees of success, and I read every book on Sensory Integration Disorder I could. And then one day, I was able to teach him how to hold a brush, and tolerate paint.
Most parents would look at that picture and just see a happy kid painting. I look at that picture and see a happy kid doing something he'd fought and cried over and refused to try.
When I look at that picture, I remind myself that we are all, inside, somewhere, a little kid afraid to try something new. Something that may look easy as pie, something as simple as just sitting down and DOING it, can be frightening to some of us for some unknowable reason.
Time to get your fingers paint-y, your brushes glopped with color, a brand new box of crayons out.
Time to believe you can do it.
Time to be able to accept it if you CAN'T.
Because if you CAN'T do it, there's always another lovely thing to try right around the corner.