I had a discussion earlier this week with some artist friends… We mused about how motherhood (parenthood) and art are almost impossible as hand in hand partners. Being a parent does not lend itself well to long stretches of quiet that allow one to truly drop into the space that is often required to let go, dive in and give space to the flow of creativity and inspiration that we artists spend our lives channeling.
After a long night of tender care-taking, of surrender to my daughter's sickness, of holding her soft mousey hair out of her tiny sweet face as she threw up into the toilet, and then onto herself and the floor, of preparing a shower, and then a bath, at too many minutes past midnight, of letting go of the needed schedule to do my 'art', of sitting in the bathroom by candlelight while she let the water fall over her, I can't help but wonder if mothering (parenting) and therefore the raising of children isn't the biggest work of art we can offer to the world.
It is necessarily a path to break you open, pour your heart in fully or not at all, give it all you got, surrender, nearly lose yourself, hate it, love it, and then send it out into the world with open arms to watch it become its own form, its own creation and take on its own life, as life itself and the world begin to interact with it and literally your work begins to take on a life of its own.
Driving alone in my truck earlier tonight, Stevie Nicks loudly leading the way with stories of crystal visions, the light of the day, of the sun's transition pulled me in. It all washed together and before I knew it the sunset had seeped into my soul, the colors of pale pinks and blues smeared gently in the sky both ahead of me and, in my rear-view mirror, behind me. How do I describe that feeling of absolute contentment that comes from a goddamn sunset? How cliché. And how deeply true. How do I describe that feeling of gratitude that comes from hearing my sick child's breath finally slow to a steady low grumble after too many mid-night wakings? That spaciousness and room to literally breathe a sigh of relief is unparalleled. How do I describe the feeling of fulfillment that comes when putting aside my solitude, my creating, my agenda, to truly be present and open to the gift that parenting gently but forcefully throws at my feet? Hell if I know.
Photo circa winter 2007.