4 kids in 3 years: reflections on motherhood, art and life.
It’s not that I haven’t written. I’ve written a lot. In the last few months I’ve reread and rewritten approximately 250 pages. Then I’ve forward written just under 200 more pages. So about 95,354 words. But who’s counting?
And I’ve had a solo art show. Two actually. All kinds of woodcuts. Also some gelatin prints. Seriously, check me out on instagram. That’s not even the half of it. And I’ve painted some school sets. Taught a class or two. And recently we had our 18th annual Balls and Feathers where I introduced felting. Because it’s literally never too late to learn a new thing.
In fact I’ve learned loads of new things over the past few month. I’ve learned things about my kids. About how they learn actually. And I’ve learned that not all my kids learn the same way. Which is a very short way of saying that I am willing to spend more time than you could possibly imagine shepherding a unique, one might say occasionally recalcitrant, young learner through the obstacle course we call school. Also, the obstacle course we call life. For this year and in perpetuity if that’s what it takes to help them find their wings. Because I’m a mom, goddamnit, and I’m built for this.
But tonight for the first time in a looooong time I sat down at my computer and it was only 10 and I had a minute to myself and most of the family staying with me to celebrate my mother’s 80th birthday for the last five days has left or is busy packing up to leave. And the kids are all in bed dreaming of the piles of goodies that they got for Christmas from Santa. The elves (yes, a second one showed up mid-month) have finally left so there are no more smears of powdered sugar or piles of marshmallows or thirty felt stars taped to every surface available (because one of my children wrote a note on Christmas Eve to Frost Bo Bo Dee asking if he could please decorate our home for Christmas in order to “get us in the Christmas spirit” because apparently a fifteen foot tree covered in handmade ornaments isn’t enough.)
Basically the lists whirring through my head have stopped for a minute. And because I fell asleep on the couch earlier in the evening while watching Despicable Me with my kids after eating a pile of turkey (ah, tryptophane, hello darkness, my old friend) I’m not even blathering with tiredness. So I sat down to look up my favorite workout leggings (Girlfriend Collective– you’ll never buy another, they last forever and are so environmental you feel like less of a selfish American ass even as you spend $68 for something you think you could get at Dick’s for $25 (you can’t)) and I noticed my blog at the top of my tabs where it always sits. And I thought, what if I click on that link and a “Sorry this is no longer a thing” thing pops up? It’s been so very long since I visited that I had to wonder, what if my blog is gone?
What if you’re gone? And you’re gone? And you are all gone? Having moved on with your ever-growing kids. And your own new projects.
You wouldn’t believe how many less new blog posts from fellow bloggers pop up in my e-mail. People, especially the moms, but also the dads, they write and they write and then they write less and then they write even less and then, poof, they disappear. And if you’re not following on Facebook too, you may never hear from them again. So few remain. Like two. And I think that’s just because their kids were already older when I found them, maybe even already older when they started writing.
But the moms of youung-uns, all of us stressed out, slightly rumpled, totally gobsmacked, diaper toting, minivan driving, carseat buckle clipping moms, we’ve moved on to other things. Even as our kids stop using the booster seat and deal with their own buckles.
Jen Groeber: Mama Art has been such a nice repository for me though, of thoughts and feelings, of comments and affirmation. It was a place for me to collect my thoughts way back in the day when I hardly felt like I had any of my own thoughts. (My second ever blog post…) Remember that time I was Freshly Pressed? (Is that still even a thing?) And that outpouring of connection was a balm to my frazzled, kid-enveloped soul.
I’m not sure I need that balm in the same way anymore. And the stories about my kids today, who they are and what they feel, they mostly belong to my kids now for the most part. Puberty is a word whispered in the air here. It hasn’t arrived yet, but if puberty had an eve we would be contemplating Puberty Eve. And puberty stories are their stories.
But I’m worried I’ll miss things. (I’ve always been worried I’ll miss things.) I want to write some of it down still. About me and them and life. So I’m resolving to do better. Not this minute. I mean, this is an actual post so it’s literally 100% more than I’ve done since (gasp) August.
I have my self-imposed deadline for the rough draft of my book to be finished and that deadline is Dec. 31st. And then I plan to re-write. Also, to re-read the book my amazing writing partner has written, but all in one fat chunk this time (as opposed to our weekly nibbles of 5-20 pages.) Then I want to see if I can get my book published. Because why not me? Why not my book being the one people pick up in the airport when they want to read something sassy and real and a little sad and a little romantic and a lot girl power once she gets out of her own way?
Who can’t relate to someone struggling to get out of their own way after all?
I’m off to check on my babies now one last time before the clock hits midnight and this Christmas 2018 is complete. I’ll tuck arms and legs under fleece blankets, pick up snuggles and bears from the floor, kiss flushed cheeks, gently close their doors with a click shutting in the gummy breathing and gentle snores that have warmed this Mama’s heart since the very beginning of Mama Art all those years ago.
So good night to you. And Merry Christmas (if you celebrate.) Also, I’ll see you in the new year, I promise. The stories might change, yours and mine, but I have a feeling there are more to be told either way. Cheers to that. xo
Yay! Happy Christmas, Happy New Year and Happy Writing 🙂
So good to read you, always, Jen. Can’t wait for the book. Happy all. xo
Can’t wait for that book to be published! Great to hear your voice, cheers to a fantastic 2019. xo