Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Life Lessons To Be Learned

Last May, Anna brought home from school a paper inviting her (everyone got one) to "try out" for Art Quest. Quest is our towns gifted and talented program. So this I knew would be hard to get in to. Since we've been driving Anna for years and years to an Art School a few towns away every single Saturday morning Scott and I first thought about how great it would be to have in Art Quest so she wouldn't need to go to Art School on Saturdays.

webs and rough drafts for her essay

We read through the application and realized it would be a LOT of work. No wonder why they sent this information home in May even though it wasn't due until September. It would take bits and pieces of all summer. And it did. She had to write an essay just to enter her art portfolio. 

And once her essay was submitted she began her work. For hours and hours she worked on four pieces. A self portrait, a pencil drawing of a shoe, a "choice" piece, and one entitled "the magic of adventure."


We were proud of her already, just for working all summer on her pieces. But we knew that the outcome might now be what she was expecting or hoping for... so we started early telling her that it was okay if she didn't get selected. That we were oh so proud of her for trying. Really, we knew that only two or three students would be selected from her school. But she wanted this.


So we supported her, encouraged her, and kept reminding her that she was a wonderful artist in our eyes.

Collage self portrait working from this picture

Secretly we hoped she'd get in of course.

A Saturday morning in her jammies working with daddy's support right by her

On the day the students selected were supposed  to be told at her school I picked her up with my phone video ready. But she walked out with a "it's okay mommy." And my heart sank.

And then I was angry. Why didn't they even pull her aside to tell her congratulations on a job well done?  Why didn't they tell her she was amazing and great just for trying? Why couldn't they use this as teachable moment with these kids? Oh was I upset. And really I was thinking how could she not get in? Haven't I been driving her to private art lessons for since she was four years old... four I tell you!!!  But I knew deep down that art would somehow always be a part of Anna's life.  It's in HER not this program. 


So we comforted her and we all moved on. 


And then this letter came in the mail just two days before the first Art Quest was to begin. We all thought, well, at least they sent a letter saying thank you for trying. All at once I was not so upset at the school. We just had to wait for our letter.

celebration 3

And then I saw a little smile on Scott and knew to turn on my video. And we were all shocked.

"Congratulations Anna. You've been invited to participate in Art Quest...." Shock I tell you!


And happiness, and oh so proud. But mostly, really truly mostly, life lesson for these parents learned. While her outcome was a wonderful one there will be many, many, many times in Anna's life that she is not congratulated, not accepted in a program, or a college, or a team... and we will have to be there for her just as proud as we were when she got in. 


And she learned the biggest lesson of all. It's in the trying and the working hard that the accomplishing is done. It's not in the letter, the program or the classes. It's in the hours she could have spent playing this summer. It's in the time she put down her scooter because she made a summer goal to finish two of the pieces before the school year started. It's in the stress and frustration that writing a detailed essay can create. It's sticking it out, getting through, trying your best and letting God take care of the rest. And good outcome, the one she wanted or bad, this life lesson is just one we'll walk through together.

Yeah, I see that... three kids...

celebration 2

celebration 1

But for now, we'll just soak in this little accomplishment with her.

PS~ And yesterday when she got home she was beaming.  Art is 'her thing' and to be with other children from other schools where art is 'their thing' well, in Anna's words... "it was amazing!" 


  1. Tara...this post made me cry! So beautiful!!! I love that art is her thing...I love that she worked so hared on her portfolio...I loved that she handled her disappointment with such grace...because it made her congrats letter that much sweeter. Most of all, I love that you recognize and encourage her talent regardless of program acceptance!!! Congrats to all of you!!!

  2. Tara...what a beautiful commentary on you and your hubby's love for your daughter.

    And art is most definitely her thing!

    So happy for you all, dear Tara. : )

  3. yeah for anna!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    art is most certainly HER THING! beautiful work anna!! the girls were all amazed at your talent!:)

    love seeing scott on video. and syuper yeah for no more Saturday drives to art class!!:) that's gonna feel great!

    have a happy day tara

  4. Congratulations Anna! So very proud of you and all your hard work! Your art work is amazing! Enjoy this wonderful opportunity!