M— just completed her final project for Honors Art II. It was a dazzling effort and recovery of a grade I thought was doomed to follow the path of our family's negative circumstance. Two days ago none of these pieces were completed, two didn't exist at all. In a moment of frustration, knowing that my daughter is neither a victim nor a mediocre student, I laid out an ultimatum.
I must preface this by saying that M—'s Japanese II teacher had extended the opportunity to her best students to take part in a ten day exchange program this summer as sponsored and funded by the Japanese government. M— was on her teacher's list. We scrambled to expedite a passport in order to make the trip a possibility, but M— has been caught in the throes of major depression for the last few months and it has taken a toll on her work at school; I didn't feel I could support an international excursion when her Art grade was suffering imminent collapse.
The ultimatum: Finish your six piece art project, or you don't go to Japan.
Today was the deadline. M— came home from school yesterday afternoon, took out her supplies and went to work. She was concerned about her English class as well, because the exam on Chaim Potok's "The Chosen" was slated for today, and she was only halfway through the book. So I met her in the middle. M— worked straight through till 4 a.m. this morning to complete her artwork. I, in turn, read "The Chosen" aloud to her.
It was one of the most rewarding, sleepless nights I've spent as her mother. We finished the book at 5:30 a.m. (I insisted on reading to the end), and then she climbed into the shower to get ready for school. She was jittery, happy, thoroughly confident and satisfied with her work, which for the first time in a long while was not fan art, and was 100% her creative capability. These images are hers, concept to completion. I couldn't be more proud.
M— has permission to go to Japan.