Now, these classes are my outlet, both for creativity and as a chance to experience "flow", get swallowed by an activity, let the time pass unnoticed. I so rarely experience flow that I forget how I need it. Blogging took a hit because with teens I am up and talking and dealing with them late into the evening. If I want to do anything immersive, I need it on the calendar and away from home. I am not aspiring to produce the next work of art, but I am treating this time as a therapy of sorts. And I really, really need it.
Every class comes with a supply list. We printed it out and hit Hobby Lobby. marveling at the materials. 11 yo seemed intrigued. When we attended the first class, everyone was asked to disclose their level of training and what they were planning on getting out of the class. Everyone was older than me by at least a decade. Three people were retired. I think it was a confidence boost to hear that everyone was a beginner. 11 yo jumped in, but I saw that he was not exactly taking all the creative risks that the teacher recommended. Then we sketched at home. He seemed excited to practice what he has learned.
|11 yo sketching out of his own free will|
This week, my 2 yo has been sick. I called on my MIL to watch her so I could take 11 yo and myself to the class. She came. 11 yo woke up crabby, declared today to be a bad day and notified me that he quit drawing. I kept cursing the psychologist for the damage he did the previous week because this week my child did not attempt sketching. He probably felt that he fell hopelessly behind, despite my assurances that every class could be free-standing. I used all my calm arguments trying to coax 11 yo to come. He flat out refused. No reasons were given except that he quit and he's not coming. I told him that I expect him just to come and sit in on class, not necessarily draw. On that note, staying calm, I told him that I am starting up the car and I will be waiting for him. he said sadly that I will be waiting for a long time.
I went to the car and sat in there, as promised. The clock was ticking. I'm reading a book on meditation. I have taken yoga. I know about putting yourself in timeout, counting to ten, to a hundred, deciding that it is not that important, not worth the fight, letting go. I closed my eyes and tried to breathe...
But I couldn't. This class was important to ME and I was missing MY class time dealing with my child who declared that he is not coming. I had to psych myself into going, into jumping in, into believing that at the end of eight weeks I will get all the necessary sketching skills under my belt. I had to believe that I am not frustrated suburban housewife dallying in art without any talent and what a waste of time and money anyway! And you are abandoning a sick child!
...I had been so good about not butting heads with 11 yo. I had been flexible, understanding. I dropped a whole lot of academic expectations, just let him be, worked on the relationship, listened to his side, tried to understand what it was like to be him. But now he was at odds with what was best for me. I want so little, and now one thing that was supposed to be purely for me became about HIM.
I stormed back into the house. As promised, he was on the top bunk, hiding in the blankets. I told him firmly that I expect him to come right now! And I do not want to count. And I do not want to punish. And I do not demand much. But he was not coming. I yelled how I hate quitters and people who do not try. He did not respond.
I walked out and drove to my class, late yet again.
Unless you have a difficult child, of the kind of "difficult" where psychologists decide that they will not handle this, you might not understand what day-to-day life feels like. I cannot overpower his will, I cannot punish him, I cannot produce enough consequences to make him do the things that he decides to refuse to do. Moreover, he usually does not have a solid reason why he dug in his heels. I just feel that I made a big mistake with trying to take this class together because this is setting up the ground for a conflict every single week and poisoning one activity that I could have claimed as my own.