It's been a hard two years full of choices made, roads taken—some out of necessity, and some of life just happens and I've done my best to weather it. Dad has been gone almost a year and a half now, Mom has made a full recovery and we are so blessed to have this bonus round with her.
Being back in the classroom teaching full-time this year, my first in nearly 11 years, has been oh-so-heartbreakingly-difficult. I've made it here, through the 3rd quarter (GO ME!) and I am welcoming this break to rest and take some time to breathe and plan my next steps.
I've made intentional choices this year regarding my return to the the classroom. For so many reasons, it has been the hard, right choice for my family and myself, but this choice has not been without personal sacrifice and consequence. When I start to doubt myself, I look to my children. My oldest son turns 12 this year, my youngest 10. In just 6 years my oldest will be ready for college and God-willing, will go out into the world on his own. In 8, we’ll send our youngest one off too. These precious years are going by so very quickly (too quickly) and I want to be present for my children in the best ways possible and able to help bring financial stability for our family as much as I am able to do. Instead of an hour in the studio, I choose to spend that hour snuggled next to Seth watching a favorite movie, while he'll still let me hold his hand and play with his hair. Instead of holing up and creating art while Steve takes the boys out all day (as was usual during the breaks) I choose to spend the afternoon watching my boys play in the ocean, bring present for them, being mom. I choose to sleep an hour early so that I can go to work the next day and not drag.
So for now, the art gets created and the writing gets written in the in between spaces of my life, and to be honest there isn’t much left of me at the end of the work and mama-ing day. I mourn this creative loss daily, while at the same time savoring the blessings that a steady full-time paycheck makes possible. Like Spring’s fickle weather, I’ve swung back and forth between extremes trying to find the right balance for myself and I sometimes wonder if I’m sabotaging my artistic progress by pulling back after having made such great strides. I wish I didn't have to choose. I wish there was enough time and energy and enough of me to give myself wholly to it all—work, family, art and everything else—but there isn’t. Managing the anxiety and depression I suffer from, while working and mothering full-time has been tricky at best. And so I have to choose, and at the end of the day, I look to my children and through that lens I am trying to live as whole and as happy and as healthy as I can possibly live. I am doing my best to make choices that honor my family as well as myself and I’m grateful that I get to make these choices—I’m fully aware that not everyone gets to.
Artwise, I ache sometimes. I’ve surrendered this love, this need to create to God—it’s painful to open up my heart wide, to sit in my once-studio only to have to close it all up again in a minute, or five minutes or an hour. I can't bear to just 'visit' the worlds that open up to me, the dreams I can taste, the glow of beauty I see in the artwork that comes to me...I don't know how to live like that, on and off, off and on, squeezing it into the nooks and crannies of my life. By the time I feel warmed up, time's over already--come and eat dinner, mom I need help with my homework, time-for-bed-early meeting-tomorrow…so to stem the ache, I just don't anymore, or not much.