6.24.2011

Stuck In Reverse......



I was out taking one of my power walks this evening; one of the best ways I know to clear my head, get some energy, enlighten the endorphins and just breath. The headphones go on to drown out all the noise in the world but seeing what the rest of the world is up to while my brain is focused on my own little world is comforting.

While walking this evening the song called " FIX YOU" by Coldplay came on and my brain quickly focused in on the lyrics and one little person in my life popped into my head. Weeks go by and things come up in my studio or life and I think to myself " I need to go blog about this".

Some of us use our blogs to share information, some of of us use it to purge our thoughts and of course I've talked about this before going back and forth with what I myself use this forum for. The moment passes by once the thought enters my head and I switch gears to something else and the thoughts and words that I want to get down are lost. Many times when I walk. I'm writing in my head. Some days this even happens while I'm throwing on my wheel and I think to myself how great it would be if I had one of those little hand-held tape recorders you to see detectives use in spy films. So in my mind, my blog has been going on. I just haven't shared it with anyone. But tonight, this evening after everyone is fast asleep and I have finished up some mugs, I decided to sit down and share.

Last time I left off with my blog I talked alittle bit about giving up writing for other more important things - like my family. Slowly, every since last year, 2010, I've had little person in the house that needed a lot of attention and some "Fixing" I guess we could say. I've often talked about all my reading issues as a kid and this year, after watching one of daughters slowly melt down while attending a new school we found out that she too has some pretty complicated learning issues and was really in need of more of my attention. I'll say it once again, I have learned so much about myself from my children and this experience has paralleled my own experiences at her age. The one who tends to push my buttons the most turns out to be the most like me and everything in my world has just flip flopped. Priorities that use to be high on my list are at the bottom.

I ended up taking both our girls out of school and decided to home school them for the remainder of the school year. I felt like I owed my twins a little "re-wind" so to speak for all the times I had left at night to teach a class or relied on Dad to take care of things. Dads are great but sometimes, if there is a Mom in the picture...kids just need Mom. When I started to just have the girls with me 247 at home, I saw myself at that age and what I had gone through and just decided to slow down with studio work and enjoy "fixing" my little person who has just needed someone to understand why her brain doesn't work like the rest of her classmates, siblings and friends.

I've gone through so many phases of how to deal with being Dyslexic and having ADHD all my life. All the feelings of being dumb as a kid, which my daughter is going through at the moment, insecurity through out High School, to trying to explain my special needs in college to professors and even laughing it off when boyfriends or friends teased me about my spelling and disorganization. I recently read a great article by Trudi Styler ( Stings wife) about living with ADHD and how hard it is on adult relationships. I've joined an organization for Dyslexics in which I get publication via the web with all sorts of information that I never knew before. Now that I am raising a child who reminds me of all the struggles, tutors and tests I endured as a child, it brings up so many feelings. All a mother wants to do is protect her young. A mother will drop everything to "Fix" her child that is hurting. Back in my head the anger of years of my own struggles and insecurities about succeeding just come to the surface ever time I try to teach my 8 year old how to write, spell the simplest of words, and make her feel good about herself. I get angry now sometimes at people who don't understand what it like to have dyslexia and I realise my child will go through the same teasing as I did and still do. People don't understand that most children with dylexsia and ADHD have very high IQ in the gifted range. They understand that they don't learn like everyone else and its frustrating.

Like myself, this child of ours can draw and create and sing like none of our other children can. She'll be fine, with extra help and will have to work as hard as I do to get ahead. My work ethic does not come from a strong moral background. It comes from years of being told I could not do something and this experience as a parent of a child with the same struggles as myself, has been my "Ah-ha" moment. (As Oprah would say.)

Shows, orders and huge blocks of time have come and gone this year in my studio. The blog and the website have cobwebs.

I've managed to keep up with the sales/shows that really matter to me and I would hate to loose. The group of potters that support me keep me going. My shelves remain bare after a sales because I never have time for extra inventory, but that's Ok with me.

At the moment all the rushing to keep up doesn't matter as much to me. All I want to do is "Fix" my little mini-me and help her feel better about herself and when I start seeing some confidence and acceptance for who she is and how she'll have to work that much harder than the other children, than I'll feel Ok. At that time, whenever that is, I'll get back to me and really pushing my clay career.

On a side note, our kids will all be back attending the private school they went to before this year and Joey and I will go back to trying to figure out how to pay for it. Nothing is more important these days than having your kids get a good education and being in a safe and supportive enviroment. I've taken on yet another teaching job at this school, along with my other two. I'll be working with the 3 and 4 year old in the pre-school program teaching art. I'm looking forward to teaching the little folks in the morning and than rushing over to teach my 20 year old at Winthrop in the afternoon. Once again, we sacrifice for our kids. Teaching at the kids school helps with tuition and also will be a great way for my little girls to see me and for my "mini-me" to feel secure knowing I'm around the corner 2 days a week.

Joey and I also put our house on the market to move closer to our kids school. I'm happy to report our house sold in one week and now we are feverishly looking for a house, over the boarder in North Carolina that also has a studio space for me. I think I deserve to get off the back porch and have my own building to work in. If we can swing North Carolina taxes, I will finally be a North Carolina potter, which has more opportunities than being a South Carolina potter.
So, that's where I have been. The struggles and my own "ah-ha" moment this year. I am still making pots but instead of rushing around to try and make deadlines, I'm rushing to go take a walk with the girls, or help with reading and writing or just being there one on one to listen to worries, joys and fears from some very deserving little people that mean the world to me.

Here's a little Coldplay for your enjoyment. I love this video because its just the lyrics...which of course I think are great. Enjoy!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pY9b6jgbNyc

29 comments:

ntheclay said...

Good for you. Our children are, and always have been, the 'important' part of each of us. Fortunately for yours, you can see and grasp this reality. The clay will still be there, as will ideas you felt like have been lost. But each day with the kids will not come again. And you are providing them the foundation from which to spread their wings and fly with confidence.

Anonymous said...

You are molding the most important things in your life....your children. Hooray for you! Your art will only become stronger from it and will always be there. Years from now when your children have children of their own, you will see the fruits of your time with them...well spent.

Tracey Broome said...

I gave up a lot of "me" time for my daughter and now she is going off to UNCSA to enter the film program there. I now have all the time in the world and would much rather have those days back when there was no time for myself! I always worked in the schools Wesley attended and it pays off, your children get more attention when the teachers know you. You will never have a day of regret for the time you are giving your kids!! Good luck, this time will go way to quickly.Congrats on joining us in NC too :)

cookingwithgas said...

I hear you- loud and clear- you only get the kids for a short period of time and this I know.
If they are not happy- you are not happy.
It is something you can not ignore.
And I have been on that same wagon as you.
Only in my age group they did not understand why I could not spell or write a paper.
I can "talk" your ears off but writing is much harder.
Keep up the good work!

Linda Starr said...

sold your place in one week, yikes that's a whorl wind, congrats, nice to hear about your family, your children will be greatful you are such a good mom; good luck finding a place and with your move.

Anonymous said...

Yep, you are all correct and I've listened you guys through the blog so thank you, I appreciate all the advice and encouragement. Years ago a potter by the name of Diana Whilde-Ramsey told me to slow down when Quaid was a baby and that conversation has popped up in my head time and time again in the last 2 years. Great, great advise!
Jen

Sister Creek Potter said...

Great post. I check your blog regularly and noticed your absence, glad to know there was a VERY GOOD reason for it! This is a precious time for you and for your little ones--you'll never regret the time and sacrifice you make to be involved with your children now. Good luck with all those balls you are trying to keep up in the air this fall.

Lisa W B Walker said...

Thanks for sharing... good luck and keep making that beautiful work of yours!

jim said...

hi jen,
it's a brave and selfless thing to take your kids and homeschool them... i often think that the same decision will at some time in the future be inevitable for me too. i've talked to friends about homeschooling and i think after a bit of time, it's less difficult than it seems and actually takes less time. either way, kudos on your decision. i believe all time with the little ones is always the best time spent and am still freaking out at how quickly it goes by. before you know it, they'll be grown and you'll be wishing you could come back to now. good luck

Judy Shreve said...

Such a beautiful heartfelt post! Your daughter is so fortunate to have you in her life - her struggles will be eased just from your experiences and understanding. YAY moms! I don't regret for a second stopping my career path for my son. It's been the best years of my life and a relationship I treasure.
They grow up so fast -
xxxooo

JUDI TAVILL said...

She is beautiful and so are you...
I have heard story upon story of these"disabilities"being conquerred and blowing away the "normal"people around them...
I also think these "struggles" which ARE so hard really DO shape the person and will actually give her(and you) a leg up as she goes through life...that sort of thing can really light the fire under a person!

littlewrenpottery.co.uk said...

Good luck! I hope things work out for you and the move goes smoothly. Sometimes you just have to get your priorities straight and go for what is important to you.

Anonymous said...

I am not a believer of home schooling. I was, but I have learned that the teachers are far better equipped and I don't want my girls to be limited by me and my education. Although I have my degrees, I am not a trained for teaching and I have come to appreciate that. Also, from your grammatical errors, etc. I would rethink becoming an untrained teacher. There are advantages in the school system that just cannot be provided at home. Teachers are good people. Also, some, not most people with ADHD have high IQ. Where do you get your facts? Either way, I do wish you good luck.
Margie

Anonymous said...

FYI: 25% of ADHD have higher IQ. Which is very close to the non-ADHD population.

lucyfagellapottery said...

Thanks for sharing and reminding me how important this time is with the kids. Mine are teenagers now, and time seems to move quicker the older they get.
Thanks too for the great Coldplay inspiration!

Jen Mecca said...

Margie,
To answer your question above about "my facts", my mother has a PHD in early childhood and being someone who has lived with ADHD and dylexsia for many years I know alot about the subject. I didn't choose to take my kids out of school because I thought I could do a better job. I took them out of school because the school they attended did a rotten job and they needed healing. My mother by the way did most of the schooling with them the late part of year and what ever I did with them, was overseen by her. She had just retired after 45 years of teaching so you need not be concerned that I did anything to "hurt" my children acedemically. Just as a final note, if you have followed my blog as so many others who made comments do, you would find that I am very open about my spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. I also believe that folks with ADHD have really high IQ's and I think that perhapse, before making a comments on someone blog, you need to research the person you leaving your message for. Jennifer

Gail said...

Jen---You are priceless. I can't tell you how many parents i know have taken their kids out of public school for various reasons, however, each and every reason, was backed by the school/system could not provide what their child needed. In most cases, when they moved, or changed schools because of age, the kids went back..and none are worse for the wear. All are productive members of society.

Susan Gallacher-Turner and Mike Turner said...

I see this is an older post, but I have to applaud you on and on...as a stay at home mom/artist/writer for the last 25 years, I can truly understand where you are coming from and want to encourage you to go with what your heart tells you to do.

My 'kids' are grown up, moved out and married all in the last few months and I am so glad that I dedicated so much of my time to them. I taught art literacy and writing at their schools while taking art classes myself. I've balanced gallery shows, making work and being a mom. It was hard sometimes. But looking back, I can tell you I am so glad I did what I did for them.

And...I love that your blog shows you as an artist and mom...the whole you...not just the professional you. It's more true.

Beatrice Nathan Pottery said...

Hi Jennifer,
I follow your blog and love it. I have also struggled with dyslexia though not ADHD. I was teased a lot as a child and often told that I was not going to be able to achieve the same things as other students. Though it was a really difficult experience and I wouldn't wish it on on anyone I learned to be more independent and not put so much weight on what other people think of me. I learned I can do anything a "normal" person can do but I do it in a new and inventive way. I am far more self motivated and independent then most of the people I grew up with who achieved in a more traditional way in school. I think pottery has been the best tool for me to express the non-traditional way my brain works. Thanks for the post!
Beatrice

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