Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.
~Henry David Thoreau
Today was a BIG day.
My daughter Piper, who is also my youngest, started Grade 1 today, marking the first time, in 14 years, that I will not have a child at home with me.
That's a LONG time.

I'm not really sure who was more excited about her starting school, her or I (and believe me, SHE WAS EXCITED). Piper was born "in love with life", so much so, that she vibrates with anticipation and physically shakes when she gets really happy or excited about something. I must admit for a long time, Mark and I were kind of concerned that she had some strange neurological problem :) but have come to see that its simply just that she can't contain her thrill of life inside that little body.

Today at school, after all the kids got into their desks, just when the teacher was about to give a little talk to all the parents, Mark and I looked over at her and tears were welling up in her eyes. I went over to her, sat beside her desk and quietly asked her what was wrong. She shrugged, wiping the tears.
I knew exactly what it was.
I held her hand and whispered "Its all just SO exciting, that it feels TOO overwhelming doesn't it?"

She nodded.
I told her that I feel EXACTLY the same way.

For 14 years now, I have painted, written, drawn, and done magazine layout work during their naps, in the evenings and into the wee hours of the morning. Many nights I fell asleep in my clothes, and started the next day with only about 4 hours of sleep. I really wanted to be with them AND I also really needed to do my art. It was chaotic, exhausting and draining but it was the way it was and so I just did it....for years.

Now, we are entering into a new phase of our lives.
From now on, I will have all day long to be in my studio working, drawing, painting and writing... and focusing on what it is that I need to do and will then be able to come home and really be at home.

The thought of that is just SO exciting, that it feels VERY overwhelming to me.

This morning, as I sat on the floor beside her desk, Piper let go of my hand and suddenly started softly stroking my head while listening to her teacher talk. In that moment I knew.... it was ALL worth it. When her teacher and the principal were done talking, it was time to go. So, I gave her a huge hug, we kissed each other goodbye and then both eagerly entered our new lives.


Tad Barney said...


Artist Laurel Hawkswell said...

Yes, it is quite the moment when they enter that new phase in their life and so do you. I had the same thing because I too work at home. Working during their naps instead of napping with them like most mothers do, getting 4 hours sleep because you're up late getting a job done so that you can go on the playschool field trip, etc. A few months before, Keaton (my youngest) was going to be going into grade 1, I started getting twitches all over my body at various times of the day and night. I was really worried about what the heck it was. When I finally got in to see a specialist (they'd started subsiding a bit) and he told me that it was stress. The stress of working ridiculous hours had built up in my body and finally was showing itself. But I would do it all again in a heartbeat for my kids. I am definitely a Mom first and an Artist second. I love art and have no idea what I'd do if I didn't have it but my kids are my universe.

You'll be surprised Cathy, how you think you're going to get so much done, maybe even get ahead ... but that time will still go pretty darned fast. As my kids headed back to school yesterday I told them that I was really going to focus and try and get all my work done each day so that when they got home from school, I wouldn't have to do any work except for caricature and face painting gigs. I wish you and myself luck with that!

Cathy Barney said...

Well said in such an honest way. There really is that tug between parenting and the creative calling; neither one caving into the other. Enjoy and thanks for sharing!

sheila said...

Well coming from a parent of a 21 and 25 year old, I completely understand all the emotions that go along with children growing up and claiming there own stake on the world. What a total blessing kids are in our lives, they teach us what true love is all about!! I have treasured every moment of my life with them and I still look forward to all the new experiences I will have as their
Mom. I am so happy that you took the time to really absorb this moment in your life as a Mom!!

Caricature Girl said...

Hey...thanks for reading and for all the comments! I love hearing the relevance it strikes in everyone's lives.

I have to say that it also feels good to have my thoughts line up in single file and organize themselves into sentences again.


Sunshine said...

Talk about a powerful moment.

SEILER said...

Isabeau starts 1st grade tomorrow!