“You may delay, but time will not.” -Benjamin Franklin
I swear, if sleep didn’t get in the way, I would get so much more done. I want to get so much more done.
I was talking to a friend of mine, recently. We went to art school together. Both painters. I met her when I was a sophomore. Years later, we both came back and worked for that same art school together. Even later, she succeeded me in my position at the college when I decided to go back to school for my MFA. Not long after, I learned she and her husband were expecting. Naturally, I was really excited for her. But at the same time, I couldn’t help but feel a little bit of pain because when we met, I was already a mother and I knew what that decision would mean for her.
It’s not like you can’t do anything once you have children. It’s a choice that is made and it’s one that you make with delight, certainly. But, there is that part of the decision that stings for an artist: The season where it’s all about you is over.
We talked kids and husbands and joked about our lack of painting productivity. “He [her husband] made me a desk where I can work and I walk by it every now and again thinking, ‘Yeah, that would be nice…Remember painting? What’s that?!” We laughed over this, of course. But, there’s a little too much truth in that.
When I left, I couldn’t help but reflect on it. I’m just not satisfied with that. There’s just too much I want to do. People ask me all the time, “How do you get so much done?”, and all the while I’m thinking, “This isn’t even half of what I want to get done.”
There’s a certain truth to taking life as it comes. Slowing down to be able to smell those roses you’re growing. But, there’s also a certain truth to not letting time slip away from you without bothering it at least a little. Tomorrow is never promised, but if and when it comes, I really don’t want to have to say, “I wish I had done that.”
A couple years ago, I decided that I needed to work on things like that. And every so often, I take another look to be sure that I’m staying on task.
Learning to spin was one of those things I always wanted to do. The summer that I learned was my way of fulfilling a need to do anything and everything that will knock one more thing off my “I want to do that” list. I suppose I feel like you have to knock things off that list as fast as you can. Hindsight really is 20/20 and regret is just never a good look. And, for me having to make peace with a lackluster past some day, knowing that I could have [insert whatever here], would be a painful pill to have to swallow.
Going from being a reclusive, anti-social kind of person to becoming part of a fiber community of late has been such a refreshing change.
I’ve met fantastic spinners.
And they’re all SO talented.
Just amazing, warm people.
They spin the fluff of beloved dogs.
Spin tons of fluff for good causes.
Even collaborate for good causes. How often do you find artists of any kind collaborating-happily?
And I’m actually part of the group. The Stacey of yesteryear wouldn’t have dared. She would’ve dreamed. But never dared.
This is still the season of motherhood for me. I love having a family to love. I love telling the stories about how the little one got into my yarn and how proud the oldest one made me in his last basketball game…and even how the hubby finally did the dishes last night.
But I am also so grateful when I was at that same art college that I got to hear a female artist talk about her years raising a family, her then-recent, painful divorce, her return to her painting, and her successes in reviving her art career and subsequent sold-out show. She now works at a well-recognized school I greatly admire in Philadelphia. She had a life and it didn’t end when she decided to have a family. Sure, there was a season where she didn’t get to produce the work she wanted to. But it was there the whole time. Just under the surface.
Another time, though I don’t remember the artist’s name…I recall, at that same school, hearing about an artist being asked if his studio, where all his life’s work was held, was on fire, what would he do. He said, “I’d save the cat.”
Life’s so precious. I’d save the cat too.
And I’ll never forget how my first art teacher at that school gave me a copy of Virginia Woolfe’s A Room Of One’s Own. Ever since, I read it once a year.
There’s a season and time for everything.
This is the season of my motherhood and I’m spinning my wheels. Preparing.
I heard from another friend I hadn’t heard from in a good while just today. She’s such a peaceful spirit. Love hearing from her. And I love how she takes life in stride. But, I think I may not have been built that way. If I have to go down, I’m going down kicking and screaming. And I do believe when the time comes around for a mother to pick up things she left behind, that they are that much more enriched by her experiences during her silent years. Yes. But, I think having a certain amount of restlessness just under the surface-sort of chomping at the bit for when your time comes back around, isn’t such a bad thing either.
Because, at the end of the day, I just want to be able to say, “I was here.”
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” - Mother Teresa