Saturday, January 23, 2010

Fingers Crossed

"Grammy, we went to the school open house. I really want to go there. They have dancing, writing, Scrabble club. Oh, Grammy, I want to be picked."

Our school district has three specialty magnet schools. One is the Arts and Communications school. This school focuses arts in all classes from art to science. For a girl who loves to write, paint and draw, it calls to her.

I went to a small school. We did have music. I did some writing in English. Of course, I was thrilled to be in the class plays, but where was the encouragement to find my niche. My parents did not believe that you could make a living in the arts. Of course, they didn’t think of careers in writing for media, journalism, marketing, etc. My sister and I took dancing but had to hide the fact since our church did not believe in it. My next oldest sister was allowed to take art. Brat. Mom always did like her best. We all played the piano and an instrument. Mine was a saxophone. Yet, the arts were viewed as frivolity.

What path would my life have taken if I had the support I needed back then? I had some college credits under my belt before I got married. Later in my life I decided to go back to school. In investigating my options, I found that I could gain the maximum credits from my adult experience. At the time I was writing and producing social dramas and teaching acting classes. Twice I had gone to the college to find some encouragement. Both times I spoke to the head of the communications department and was told, “You are already doing what you love and making money. Why would you want to do this and end up with a big debt at the end of it?” Single mom = huge debt. Hm.

I did find my own path. It has not been easy. Maybe being laid off has helped push me in that direction. Maybe nothing could have prevented me from writing, from loving music and from teaching myself to draw, from teaching acting and writing plays.

My granddaughter is 10, almost 11. She will go into the 6th grade next fall. Already she is making decisions about her life direction. She understands that none of her friends will go to that magnet school. Since it is a school of 6th to 12th graders, she will have no prom, no sports and other things big schools present. She does know that she will be immersed in the things she loves. She is willing to make new friends. She is strong enough to walk into the unknown and grab on for the ride. She is my champion.

Her parents are listening to her and giving her a chance. I am proud of them. It would be easy for me to toss in my opinion, but this is a decision for which my granddaughter needs to be responsible.

“My fingers are crossed,” she said. Oh, Sweetie, my fingers are crossed, too.

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