Landed in Little Rock around 11:00 PM and I was wiped out. The National Art Convention was great but a marathon with early morning sessions and loads of miles to almost run to attend all the selected sessions was a challenge. You add in the time zone difference and it totals up to bring me coffee and tape to keep me awake!!
I wake up on time to get to the morning commute on to heavy traffic and of course someone caused an accident to make the backup worse. This was not the homecoming I was looking forward to.
I pull into school, park in my usual spot, and pull out of the back of my car my computer, purse, and school bag. I’m still tired and I had not had a cup of coffee yet. Then all of the sudden to my right as I pass the carpool drop off, a huge squeal from a car was heard. It was one of my students and she almost blew out her Dad’s eardrum from her enthusiasm to seeing me back at school. Her Dad rolled down the window and said, “I guess you’ve been missed!” and he smiled. I was only gone one day and of course Spring Break the week before. My art student bounced out of the car and helped to carry my bags to the studio, the whole time telling me all about what a week she had and how she could not wait until I got back. I go to the second floor to my studio and I see six of my artists waiting for me. They ran to greet me and give me hugs. In the center of my desk is a chocolate candy on a stick in a shape of a paintbrush from New Orleans, a place one of my other artists’ visited over Spring Break. My studio was a buzz of excitement of everyone trying to get my attention and to share with me all that I missed in their lives since I saw them a week ago. I was so incredibly happy to be back in my studio and looking and listening to the chatter of my artists. I belong here, I belong with these students, they need me, and I need them. I am so fortunate to have found a place where all that I put into my students; I get out of them as well.
My schedule was a full one and in every class and in the hallways students remarked they missed me and asked how was my trip. Our deadline for turning in our garments was the next day but a photo shoot was set for the end of the day, lots of last minute finishing was going on in the studio all day. My art studio looked more like a closet or a recycle bin but the studio was humming along like nothing was in the way. My students adapt to all the crazy activities I host and the commotion actually makes my studio the place to be so I am okay with that. I have students popping in all day long to check in with me on all the latest stuff going on in sports, news, school, or just a new haircut. There is a lot of trust, kindness, affection, and admiration in my studio. It is a feel good place and expectations are high. Is everyone achieving at the same level all the time? Of course not, it’s a high school and I teach teenagers. But I must say the relationships are healthy between my artists and me. It’s about teaching art but it’s also about building up young adults. There has to be expectations, benchmarks, celebrations, accountability, and lots of humor.
This weekend was the first weekend in a long time I was able to stay at home, in my house. I did very little…well in perspective of my life…if you understand my life. I did catch up on sleep and that was the most important part of my weekend. I am able to reflect on my past two weeks and plan out the next three without feeling sleepy. I accomplished a lot this week, one student Award for a Fashion Scholarship, a nice letter from Bill Clinton for our work to support Haiti, a gift from Indonesia with supplies for a batik project, all of our garments have been sent off for the Recycle Runway Show, and I completed an interview for Little Rock Family magazine on all the Service Learning work I do with my students. I have Congressional works to submit this week and our big State Art Convention and Contest coming up next. Finally our big Curbside Couture Fashion Runway Show…it’s going to be amazing.
My life is a wild ride but I the rewards far exceed any of the dips in the road.