- Posted October 9, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The written word: Your personal essays
The Horse that Changed my Life
One day about a year ago, Nyman was cleaning her son’s room when she found a stick-figure drawing of a horse tucked under the pillow. She showed off the drawing to friends and family, and Logan beamed. Nyman decided she wanted to do more with the drawing, so she had a tattoo artist replicate the horse on her forearm.
“I shared a photo online and it spread fast, with as many negative comments as positive,” she wrote. “Many people didn't understand, and some thought it was a cover-up story for a screwed up tattoo.”
Now Nyman has 12 tattoos on her left arm, nine of which are Logan’s drawings. “I wanted the artwork with me all the time, so all I have to do is glance down at my arm and be reminded everything is going to be okay.”
- zdan, CNN iReport producer
When my son Logan was born and his developmental issues emerged, art was not high on my agenda as we made our way through the medical testing and evaluations. Once we had things somewhat under control, I turned to art in hopes of helping my wordless son to express what was locked inside. I encouraged crayons, finger paints, clay, and he flat out refused. Holding a pencil was almost torturous for him, and he would drop it the second he was done practicing his name, which he only recently mastered in high school.
As he got older I tried to sneak in ways to introduce things like glue and cotton balls, or shaving cream. Still he resisted, his sensory issues just not allowing him to enjoy it.
We took him to sensory therapy in hopes of helping his tactile defensiveness. I had blends of oils created for him and did aroma and massage therapy on pressure points. They tried at school, offering water and sand.
No deal. This was just not happening. The art room we had put together as the kids outgrew their playroom stood empty much of the time.
Logan developed a strong love for horses while participating in therapeutic horseback riding. He collected horse books and magazines, looking at them daily. I had all but given up on helping him express himself artistically, accepting that it just wasn't for him.
One day, about a year or so after giving up on this I was cleaning Logan's room up, stripping his bedding. I lifted his pillow and there it was. On white lined paper, just a scrap torn from the corner of a notebook sheet. A horse. A simple lined drawing, but obviously a horse, tucked away under his pillow in spot to keep it safe.
I sat down on the edge of his bed and sobbed. Tears fell and wet the paper and my world was a blur. A blur of a horse, drawn by my hates-to-hold-a-pencil son who refuses to write more than his first name.
This simple drawing meant the world to me, and at that moment I knew that everything was going to be okay. He had the ability, it was there. He did it. He expressed himself.
I couldn't wait to talk about his drawing with him, and he beamed with pride when I showed him I had discovered it. I asked if it would be okay if we hung it on our refrigerator, and there it stayed for several years, his one and only piece of art done on his own.
One day I decided I wanted to do more with the drawing and I took it to a tattoo artist I knew. I put the horse on my forearm, exactly replicated. I shared a photo online and it spread fast, with as many negative comments as positive. Many people didn't understand, and some thought it was a cover-up story for a screwed up tattoo.
I stopped reading the comments, they didn't matter. I love this horse, and I always will. When Logan saw what I had done, he started pulling out old coloring books that I had long since given up on. He started drawing, and handing me sheets of paper with all sorts of characters on them. A giraffe, a monster, a robot. A skull and crossbones, a flower, a sunshine.
We gathered up our favorites and together Logan and I went back to the tattoo parlor and had the artwork added while he watched.
I later went back and had it all colored, then added breast cancer and thyroid cancer awareness ribbons. I dug through old boxes and collected some of my favorites my daughter had drawn as a young child and I plan to continue with those up to my shoulder.
I realize that many parents hang their kids artwork on the fridge, or many even framed on the wall. I love walking into a home and seeing that, but for me, I wanted the artwork with me all the time, so all I have to do is glance down at my arm and be reminded..everything is going to be okay.