Today is the 30th birthday of my son, Beamer David Comfort. Beamer, facing his landmark date, mused on Facebook: “4 days left in my twenties! I guess I need to admit I am an adult,” to which someone else responded: “I think the baby gave you away.”
The shape of my life was certainly redefined at the birth of our grandson, Jack Eldon Comfort, not quite 10 weeks ago: I am a grandmother. I thought I was ready – I wasn’t. I’m not. Everything has changed. Today I am feeling sentimental and nostalgic – being on the verge of my 60th birthday is certainly part of that. And Beamer’s actual birth day was tumultuous and dramatic so I am always “verklempt” on this date. Happy birthday, Beamie!
The art piece adjacent came to light at a Christmas purge/cleanup, at the behest of our kids. (Remarking on our decline into hoardership, they rolled up their sleeves and waded in, dragging us in with them.) Beamer said “I remember this.” I did also. It marked the beginning of the end of innocence about school, creativity and “the rules” for both of us.
The assignment, in Kindergarten, was to do a portrait of Dad; one that shows “who Dad is”. The unadulterated original was just the blue figure, sans gi-normous head. Underneath the later-added-on green blob at the right, was Beamer holding hands with his Pops, while the green blob on the left always represented the Christmas tree. Beamer’s dad and I thought it amazing and touching that part of “who Dad is”, for Beamer, was their relationship, their closeness. The teacher had a different reaction. The assignment was a picture of Dad, not Dad and child. She directed him to change the picture and follow the instructions. So the hydrocephalus head was appended and Beamer obscured. Most telling for me, was Beamer’s current take on this. While I lamented the imposed revision, Beamer said: “No, part of going to school is learning to follow instructions. I didn’t follow the instructions.” True enough…but educators need to be careful when trying to teach the lesson of self-discipline and rigour, not to achieve only compliance.
Lastly, my New Year’s gift to you: take 20 minutes out to watch this TEDx talk by Jarrett J. Krosoczka: How a boy became an artist. Settle in with the libation of your choice and be prepared to be inspired and uplifted by this gentleman. Take particular notice of the homage he pays to the influence that the love and care received from teachers had on his life and career.