Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Where am I going?

As of late, I have been trying to figure out what direction to take my blog. For anyone sticking with me, I am thankful.

When I started writing this, I was an isolated mother with lots of children and I was identified by the sheer number. I still have lots of children, but two are in their 20's now, and the youngest is about to start kindergarten. I have left my husband's church because I cannot handle the smell of incense and I have a couple of the kids at a different church that they love. (Cloud has become an organizer in the church for events for her group. This church isn't full of triger-happy survivalist types, thank goodness.) People don't normally know me as that mom with 9 kids now that many see me with just a couple of them. My seven left at home are in three different schools and while I volunteer, no one sees me with all of them.

A few weeks ago, a friend got on me for not working and for making my husband support us all. He jeered at me, "Why haven't you finished your degree? What do you tell people when they ask what you do?" Gosh, I tried to finish my degree-- when I started to tell him, he said that all I was offering him were excuses. When I told him that no one but him had an issue with me not working, he didn't seem to believe me. I was depressed for a while over it. (My husband started to talk to me about working. I was like, "That is fine, but you have to start cleaning." I used to work in the evenings and I also took some classes and I'd come home around 10pm and he'd be watching TV and dishes would still be on the table. Floors still need to be vacuumed, windows wiped off, they all have to happen, and if I am working in the evening, I am going to sleep at different hours. After more thinking on his part, he dropped it.) I think that as I am a housewife, I embarrassed my friend. He got into his head that I talked about him-- and when I thought we had a mutual friend, he told me to not talk about him to her and that it would be "a test." I guess housewives do nothing but jabber to other people about him in his world.

I've dealt with things that I have to write about months later because, while the kids don't see my blog, it is about privacy for them.

I am getting more involved with my art. My mentor found me, and he is making me think. Today he said to me, "Do not run from me. I am not your professor, I will not fail you. Just. . . think. Don't think tonight, think in a few days." Of course I am up at 3:30 thinking about what he said.

For years I have painted and drawn, and I had one fan for whom I produced many works given that we wrote snail mail. For my mentor I am starting to go back, not to the works that I did, but to what I am seeing, and creating. What have I seen that has moved me today? What catches my eye? Do it in pastel, now recreate it in water colors. Work fast, I haven't much time, I can usually go back.

I have an art show planned for September of 2012. I am finding themes in my work. Art is a language unto itself. I do envelope art and my art always says, "I love you, I have prayed for you, I thought good thoughts of you for however long it took me to make this." I do not know if the envelope art will make it into the show-- it is hard to create it just because I have a show coming up. "Oh cool! Art on an envelope!" Yes, it is nice, but for whom am I making it? Having an audience is important because I have direction. Now that I have a mentor, he is guiding me and ultimately, I can always create for him since so much of what we discuss manifests itself into my work.

I assisted at a friend's art show a couple of weeks ago. It was private and very elegant. I discovered that unplanned "fiascoes" are really opportunities in disguise. I went along to help set up easels (I think I was asked to help because I have a big vehicle!) on which to put up work, but given time constraints, I didn't have time to change from volunteering at the elementary school to where I had dressed almost like an elf in striped stockings, a mini skirt (not micro-- it was cute!) and bright colors. I arrived and was setting up when the people putting on the art show realized that they'd not booked the caterer to cater-- just to make food! They were having several guests come over and they asked me to stay to help serve. Since I was with my artist pal, I was there for him and was happy to do what I could. Their plans for the kids didn't work out because the kids got tired of watching a movie, so I had a container full of art supplies from the kids' school. I did an art project with the kids that the parents wanted to try, too! What had been planned to be an event from six to eight or nine lasted until eleven o'clock at night with fascinating stories and people bonding.

I get really embarrassed because I spend a lot of time at FaceBook. I don't spend too much time there, but on one of my accounts, I often access it from my phone. The particular group of people has my base of friends from 30 years ago, as well as close new friends. We post encouraging notes to each other-- it is like. . . . getting a dozen Hallmark cards every day! I recently posted something about my eldest daughter and how proud of her I am, and my friends who are also friends with said daughter were really wonderful because they know her, too. They told me that I had so much potential when I was younger, but that no amount of professional accolades and education could trump what they are becoming as people, and that the sacrifices that I have made are worth it. I am so blessed to be seeing it in my lifetime, and I hope that the younger ones will also be as wonderful for their sakes. (I think they already are!)

I am not ready for Starshine to enter school. We had a late snow the other day and she wanted to walk. I parked a few blocks away and she tramped through people's yards as I walked on the sidewalk. I asked my she was walking in the snow and she said it was so other people could follow her. At one point she paused and looked at her foot prints and said to me that her footprints are art. It was awesome. As we walked, I realized that it may be the last I walk with her to school in the snow. Next year, she will be an eager kindergartner. I may volunteer, but it won't be the same. I really want to have more babies. As she grows, I am also getting older. Sure, I am 43 and I am quite young looking, but age is a funny thing and you cannot escape it if you live. I hope to make the most of every year and be a wonderful role model on how to age well.

I suppose that like StarShine, I, too, am leaving footprints.

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