It was a chore just to close her damned eyes. After so long feeling jolted; vigilant and scanning; sometimes ducking away or taking an alternate route. Closed eyes seemed like a risk. But there was nothing ahead of her today, nothing waiting, nothing to miss. She kept them closed until it stopped feeling risky, started feeling acceptable, started feeling strong like a refusal. The gloves too went from weighty to weaponry. She conjured an image of her foe, memorized her face, internalized the swirl of frustrations, anger, fear, and helplessness. And she spat it back as strength. She opened her eyes, clenched her hands inside her gloves, and swung one knockout punch.
This painting has haunted me since I saw it this summer at South Portland, ME’s Art in the Park event. Her other figurative work is also gripping, sometimes in its nonchalance. Her still life works seem often to include reflective tin, silver, glass and it is amazing. Look at Post van der Burg’s work here: http://www.mpostvanderburg.com. And be amazed.
I am queen of the helicopter parents. But there are enough of us that we are becoming a social problem. Here’s my story.
Thing 1 was coming, they couldn’t stop him, it was only 24 weeks and 3 days. Someone asked: should we try to save him? Well, yes. Yes! Ten days later, a team of doctors closed the door behind us to explain brain bleeds, sepsis, meningitis. Shall we pull the plug? Well, no. No!
Babydaddy laid hands on him every day, massaged him when he was ready. For the three months he was in intensive care, and the three weeks at an intermediate hospital, I would get up in the night and pump breast milk, thinking about my baby across town. Babydaddy delivered it every morning, earning the name “milkman.” It was funny.
We had every therapy going for as long as possible: early intervention, the intermediate unit, private therapies. Terms multiplied: sensory processing dysfunction, sensory integration problems, orally defensive, auditory sensitivities, comprehensive developmental delay, cognitive function impairment, retinopathy of prematurity. He did occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, play therapy; we consulted with a neurologist, school psychologist, wraparound service provider, developmental specialist. He worked with an occupational therapist for a year and a half to tolerate teeth and hair brushing.
Not surprisingly, parenting didn’t feel natural. I learned to read to my baby watching Phyllis, our physical therapist. Voices, commentary, labeling colors, counting… she was very good! Merging professional research skills with my genetic propensity for silliness (mom was class clown, dad’s distantly related to Lucille Ball), my mothering style came together. Eventually. But I still channel Phyllis on occasion.
Thing 2 was full term. They are complete opposites; she is a sensory seeker with a wild sense of adventure and an inventive sense of fashion. Keeping them both busy and happy is an exasperating and sweet challenge. I still believe that every day can be fun and educational while reinforcing kids' boundaries. I’m on a mission to save us helicopter parents from ourselves. No more bubble wrapped kids and guilty parents. Let’s teach them coping skills. Let’s get fun.
I was certain that this was a photo ! Her website has more fantastic work !!
Thank you for the introduction !
Oh I’m so glad you liked it all. I was so tempted to try to find a way to purchase it! 🙂
I am so honored to have my painting as part of your blog. This is my daughter, Allison, who has had a pretty rough time of it in her young life–the boxing gloves are a testiment to her strength and her determination not to be a victim.