I signed Madmad up as a test subject for a college student's master's thesis on art therapy. Essentially all she had to do was draw three pictures and then answer a few questions about them. The idea behind the thesis is whether there are similarities in children of deployed soldiers in the themes that might be found in the drawings - thus leading to similar psychological issues found in children of deployed soldiers...
First, Maddie got to draw whatever she wanted...she chose to draw a sick elf. HA! I can just imagine what THAT says about the psychosis of our family. ha ha ha
"Dear crazy family,
Your daughter's idea of something to draw was an elf with the chicken pox. Have you ever heard of counseling?"
Second she had to draw a picture of our family doing something together. She drew John in an airplane waving at Maddie, Bella and I who were on some green grass playing soccer. Veeeerrrrryyyy interesting. At least, when I put on my armchair phychology hat...why wasn't John part of our family activity?
Instead of kicking a goal he was up in a plane waving at us while WE played. Its a definite sign that he's not "here" in the sense that he's an active part of our family. At least he was hovering around in mid-air in an airplane and not with angel wings or some sinister thing like that.
And at least we were out doing something active and not sitting around the latest episode of Elmo's world...which seems to be all we watch these days on the tube. That could have been embarrassing, but it would have been harder to have John in an airplane while we're sitting around snacking on popcorn watching a little red furry monster sing la la la la...la la la la....Elmo's World!
Third, she got to choose what she wanted to draw again. She chose to draw a princess with a bunch of hearts around her...fairly standard fare for an 8 year old girl, I think.
I don't get to know the results until the master's paper is written, but I'll be interested to learn what she has to say about the mind of children of deployed soldiers. I think Maddie is pretty well adjusted as far as that goes, but when you add in that I'm STEPmom ...then you start to think that this kid is far away from BOTH her birth parent.
I can't bring myself to say "real" parents...because the truth is I AM her real parent. Now I could embark on a long lecture on stepmoms (and dads) and the recognition they deserve for playing a parenting role regardless of the stupidity of the court system or the negativity in birth parents toward stepparents and vice versa... I don't want to undermine how HARD it can be for us adults to get along, but the truth is that if you allow a stepparent to be a parent it will almost ALWAYS be a good thing for your kids. They will feel loved and cherished and secure in both homes and by both sets of adults in their lives... And yes, I know there are always exceptions...just like there are birth parents that I could point out that have never been allowed to reproduce. Ok...off my soapbox and enough said.
Just know that I love that little girl. I'm glad she knows that.
C'mon...give me some love clicks...