My daughter can draw. I mean, she can really draw. We can imagine all kinds of cool things in her future: graphic novels, comic books, video game art, illustration.
But we all know what happens to kids who grow up doodling in their chemistry notebooks and dreaming of being an artist — life happens. The day job becomes the career, and art becomes a hobby or maybe just a spectator sport. While the high school football player sits on the sofa with nachos and ESPN, the high school artist goes to museums and browses the art supply store. I know how I’d rather spend the afternoon, and I can’t even draw, but still . . .
This was the story I heard, anyway, and I’m sure there is a lot of truth in it. But I also know that when you put all your energy into weaving the safety net and writing Plan B, Plan A withers a little.
So while Violet was gone we set her up a little drawing space. Apart from the practical considerations of stopping her contorting her body in weird ways to draw in really uncomfortable places, I hope it tells her that someone takes her art seriously, and that she can take it seriously too. I hope it’s one more concrete way we let her know that in this house we value creativity, art, and the love of making stuff at least as much as we value AP and SAT II exams.
Are we preparing her for the real world? In twenty years, no one will even know where to find her SAT II scores — and between us, no, she won’t remember calculus — but what she does at that table will still be with her.