Tonight, after being quiet in her room for over an hour, Kya came out very excited and wanted to read me her story. I had already tucked her in and it had been quiet for a while so I thought she was sleeping and was a little surprised to see her so wide awake but this is how things go. We put the kids to bed with the understanding that they can do quiet things but don't have to go to sleep; they know when they are tired and we don't have to be up early to keep someone else's schedule so this works for us. After hearing her story, I am so glad we relaxed about bedtimes.
This story was so good, the cadence so poetic, and the imagery so vivid that I was imagining the pictures in a book, seeing the pages turn while she read to me. Now, I am an avid reader but the ladies in my book club will tell you that I'm not all that into detailed imagery- I like the character study and seeing authentic characters in authentic interactions and relationships. I don't usually "see" much in my minds eye... the narrator is a voice in the dark because a good character study will take you into the dark places of the characters mind. I tell you this so you can understand that for me to see pictures leaping forth from these words was no small thing. Her story was good. Not good for an 8 year old but really and truly good.
The thing is, if she was in school I don't know if she could have written this. She would used to being told what and when to write. She would be used to having rules about the correct way to write pushed on her. When she was in public school she liked to be right, to be smart, to be showered with words of praise- and it was squashing her creativity. Tonight she wrote for the sheer joy of it, she wrote when the ideas came to her without fear that she would be too tired to get up on time in the morning, and she shared it with me in the full knowledge that I wasn't going to pick it apart and try to "fix" it, but that I would just enjoy it.
I have seen her artistic side coming forth more and more this year. When the kids make up skits and perform them I am astounded by how good her acting is; the first time I realized how good she was it actually brought tears to my eyes. She has begun taking dance again, from a serious dance instructor, and she can't stop moving. She has been creating beautiful abstract artwork. She sings constantly and told me that music makes her feel good "Way down deep." She is an artist in every sense of the word and I can see her creativity so vibrantly. The most amazing thing about all of this is that a few months ago I could not see it.
A few months ago she was too worried about so many things that other people had decided were important and she had no time to discover what she found important. This is a tragedy; kids like Jace are so vocal about their unhappiness, about the loss of themselves in the system. But kids like Kya smile, seem to be doing okay, seem to be the ones that school is a good fit for when really they are losing themselves just as much, maybe more, because no one, not even themselves, seems to notice.