Paul has always lived in high gear. When he was almost three he figured out how to draw a motorcycle and he drew one after another after another. It looked like he couldn’t believe he could really do it. He looked so satisfied that each time it still turned out looking like a motorcycle.
Moms sometimes look at their children for clues. What will my child grow up to be?
I saved those motorcycle picture because of the way they were drawn – with intensity and because the satisfaction Paul seemed to have with what he had drawn struck me. It was special.
I also took note when Paul began to write. If you know about the writing workshop, you know about the writer’s notebook. When Paul was first introduced to it in school, I remember him saying with surprise and joy, “I can write whatever I want.” And he did. He wrote about his teachers and his classmates and about exactly how he was feeling.
One day some time after when I thought the writers notebook thing had already worn off, Paul headed out to the backyard with a clipboard in hand. I asked what he was doing. “I’m going to write, “ he said. I snapped a picture (with a camera - no cell phone camera yet) because it was awesome to see this young, extremely active, intense, sometimes troubled boy writing. He was serious and focused. I don’t remember if I ever saw what he wrote. It was not a school assignment. I asked him later and he said he had just wanted to write.
When Paul returned home a few years ago after beginning his recovery, I again saw him drawing page after page and writing in a serious, intense way as if he had to get the words out and on paper. Writing has always helped me make sense of and put in order the many thoughts and feelings I have within. It seemed to be doing the same for him. He was writing encouragement to himself, a kind of well-speaking, and then sharing it with others. People responded and were likewise encouraged.
Those seedlings I had seen in Paul as a young child – the drawing and the writing, have been maturing and together are becoming one thing- ART. Today I enjoy telling people - My son is an artist.