I Am Still a Mother

This post is dedicated to my mother…often misunderstood…whose opinions sometimes went unaccepted (by me)…but pretty much, my best friend ever. I’m remembering all of those times when I thought I didn’t do things as well as she did…and THAT, tonight, seems like foolishness. I love you, Mom, and I get you now.

At the age of 63, sometimes it’s easy for other people to forget that I am still a mother. All of those feelings I had when my children were just little babies…the insecurities, the fears, the awe and the weariness, the love and celebration…those feelings, I supposed, would just, one day, go away. But, they haven’t. They prickle on the surface of everything that remains…of me.

I saw my three children through their toddler and day-care years, all the while, dealing with the enormities of my own life and career(s). Did I ever have a good reason not to polish their little shoes white? Did I stop, for a moment, being a mother? At night, for all those years, there was my best-ever enthusiastic-reader-voice during every last-of-the-day book. There were the trips to the Emergency Room. There were goofy costumes. There were snowmen. Did I ever stop seeing them through countless agonizing nights of stomach flu or horrendous congestive explosions? All three? No.

Even when they were big Junior High sort-of-kids? No. Did I feel an intense responsibility to check their eyesight? get their teeth cleaned? attend to their vaccinations? Provide clothing around the seasons? Well, of course I did. Were they sometimes asleep when they should have been awake? Awake when they should have been asleep? YES!

I wondered if my night sweats would go away when my children were in High School. No. Was there some way I could possibly figure out how to get each of them on that tour? Was there a way that I could give my children everything that other children had? “I can do this”, I said to myself. Oh. But, then I started to notice the pulling-away…I started, then, to feel a nudge of what would be, according to the laws of everything in the universe, the separation. Would these laws of nature and life mean that I would stop being a mother?

No.

Surely, I could be a little less vigilant when they were accepted into University. No. The drives home…all hours. The push. The pull. That rage against the night. That anger that shrouded every single inkling of fear…that excruciating not-knowing-most-of-the-time-anguish. That incredible fear. A thing of invention? Perhaps. “I can do this,” I thought. I could manage my way through this utterly new and amazing puzzle…this huge labyrinth called life (of that time). Right? My children still valued me. They needed me, right?

What if there were miles that separated us? Rome? Nice? Spain? London? Was there a place on the planet that would take my child so far away that I would stop being a mother?

I wondered, with every new rite of passage, would I be absolved from motherhood when finally, I witnessed one child walk down the aisle? She was out of my arms and into the arms of someone who would love, cherish and create…a new life…a separate life… Was that the moment?

When something shattered in my child’s day, I was shattered. Every time I witnessed the tears of my son or daughter, I cried with them. When they laughed…when they experienced a success…when they were contented…I felt them and every part of them within me. As I sit here writing tonight, I remember their special outfits and Christmas concerts, the drumming strumming, flag-tossing explorations….I remember the music.

At one time, I thought that their growing was somehow connected to what I was doing and the choices I was making. But, no…they were growing despite me…despite my advice…my good intentions…or even my prayers.

They were making their choices and making their way and I have to shrug it all off some nights. I have to pinch myself with gratitude that I did what I could, to protect them. I have to let go with a sigh. I ponder about the present tense. At this time of my life, I still want to be valued. I want to move on through the years that remain, knowing that I still have something to contribute. Tonight I am wondering, ‘What did it all mean?’ And, ‘Who am I now?’

You say something and I roll my eyes, laughing.

I say something and you roll your eyes.

It’s the story of every generation before us…and will be…every generation after us. I am still a mother.

45 Minute Discoveries About Faces

It’s great to put the eraser down and be playful.  It’s great to get your hand off of the table and let fingers fly.  Unbelievable!  Such discovery as one abandons the “I want to learn how to draw, technically speaking.” for that place that is…”I have something inside me that can pour out of my fingers, if I am allowed to be free.”

These Junior High drawings…more, the process of getting there…was like watching magic spill out of these beautiful children.

In the traditional sense…this is what you get.

(I located several awesome HOW TO DRAW worksheets on line.  My readers may want to google around and I find one of those.  For the purpose of this blog, I’ve drawn a quick step by step, on my own…five minute drawing, but it should help.)

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In a less conventional approach…these.

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ART!!

2008 Student Sketch

I was marking sketchbook drawings today in my Grade Seven art class!  Amazing!  I suggest, “Use all of your space OR crop!  Develop everything about it!  Date your work!  You are likely to be a famous person one day and they will auction your work, knowing that it was done soooo many years ago and so likely, it is really valuable!  Use at least five values.  I want to read black, white, dark grey, medium grey and light grey!  I want to squint at each and every drawing and see these five values.  And…I’m going to make you squint at your drawings too!  Explore something different every time you draw!  Do you scumble? smudge? hatch? cross hatch? stipple?  Look at your marks!  Wowsers!  The content of your drawings?  Does this have meaning?  What do you love about this subject?  What frustrates you about this subject?  MAGIC!  Every term….10 completed sketches…that means…by the end of Grade nine, you will have three sketchbooks and ninety drawings!  This will make an archive and you will be on your way!  Wait and see how much you have discovered about your visual world in just three years!  Amazing!” 

The drawings I saw today were amazing!  I especially loved an elephant that a young lady drew and I suggested that its whimsical profile would pop forward more if she pushed what was behind it into a darker value!  I had her step back as we explored that idea…and she squinted…and she nodded her head! (I will photograph her elephant tomorrow!) And…as I finished my personal conference with each and every artist, I recognized each by having the class salute their achievement with applause.  It was a grand celebration!

Genesis