Seventeen Days

Creative Self

This summer, has been neither very drawing-ish, nor illustrator-y for me. I was talking to my friend, we’ve both been unproductive. This summer, I took on a volunteer job as a chauffeur. Actually, I’ve always had this job, in addition to the volunteer nurse, chef, baker, housekeeper and personal assistant jobs, that I also have. If I get paid, it’s with hugs. They’re pretty nice hugs, actually. I wish I got more, they should give me a raise.

In seventeen days, I will be a mom of two middle schoolers. One starting sixth grade, and one going into seventh grade. I’ve had some melancholia and I’m not sure what’s triggered it. Perhaps my binging on only autumnal episodes of the entire Gilmore Girls series didn’t help, but I think the final molting of elementary school has a lot to do with it. When your kids are in younger grades, you get to participate in all the fun stuff, their friends are fun, they ask lots of questions. You feel super needed, over-needed actually. By third grade I was done with parties and all of it. But in middle school, no one “needs” you. It’s a weird sensation, they’re making the choice for you. It’s sort of like when you’re not invited to a party you didn’t want to go to anyway. You would have liked to have been asked, just to have the power to say “no, I can’t.” While I couldn’t wait to be done with the elementary after seven years, part of me wanted to cling to that familiarity. Dumb, right? Because now, don’t I have all this time for my work? For years, isn’t this what I’ve waited for? Creative Autonomy? Ah, but now, I have to put up or shut up…Frankly, it’s just easier to keep telling my sons what to do, instead of telling myself what to do. But easier isn’t better, and they’re not really on board with that anymore (even our younger son with autism).

Today, my blog turns five. Five. As in years.

Shooom, there they went. Five years. I’d actually had a blog for much longer than that, but I’d scrapped it and started brand new. There are only three years in middle school, chew on that for a sec. Three years of middle school. They’re going to go faster than the past five years. Actually, our older guy has two years left. Gah, now I have an ache, from my heart to my stomach. It’s heavy. I feel like I should do something significant, even more than celebrating my blog’s birthday with an overpriced coffee. Maybe I’ll add a flavor shot today and make it more overpriced. I’ve grown a lot in five years. You wouldn’t think so, so far into adulthood (or, after what I just said about my coffee plans). After you have kids… rather, after they get older, you start re-evaluating your life. What you’ve accomplished, what you haven’t, yet. What you’ve always wanted to do, comes to the surface, and you do kind of a self-inventory. I’ve been looking inward, what did I like, what would I have changed about myself and my journey? Did I give enough to my indie art career? Did I give enough to my kids and my friends? To my husband? I, all-of-a-sudden, have all these things that I want to do, and time to make up. Things I wish I’d done before kids. I mean, you’ve seen some of my knitting (even illustrators have to have a hobby, seriously). Sometimes I sit and think, “what I could have been making, if I’d stuck with this twenty years ago!” *side note: these things aren’t keeping me up at night, but I’m jus’ sayin’…

But, I can do it now. I appreciate things more. I appreciate time more. I could dig out a lot of quotes about how “today is the first day of the rest of your life,” but they would be cheesy and trite, and, you already have heard or read them all. Every new ache or pain becomes a reminder. An alarm. The clock is like, totally ticking and there’s a sense of urgency. Stats tell me I’ve got at least a good thirty years before I really slow down, but I still feel like I don’t have a moment to waste (because none of us knows when we’re gonna go, know what I mean)!

So, in the next seventeen days, I will be getting ready. Old school. Analog. BC (before computers). Organizing, making lists, stocking my chocolate stash.

On day 18, I will be back in the studio, drawing, and painting (yes, like totally painting), and maybe I’ll finally get the stained glass going (I have some, and tools, just sitting there). I just need to get over my whole “don’t make a mistake” thing…I’ve got seventeen days to do it.