In lieu of gushy writing (because I’m just not that kind of blogger) about how much I love my girls (tons), and about all the wonderful qualities that they have (again, tons), and instead of my usual flashback music, here is a video of the two of us, mere hours before becoming parents! I apologize for the poor quality: it’s a video of a video. I couldn’t think of any other way to do this! I was scheduled to have a C-section, because both babies were breech.
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It’s been a downer kind of a day. I submitted my art to a juried art show, and it was rejected. I realize that artists have there work rejected all the time, that I’m in good company, but it still stings. Especially when I have been on such a high, for so long, and feeling really good about my work.
Today has been a questioning kind of day. Is my art really any good? Does it matter that my paintings were rejected? Will this affect my work? Well, I did add quite a bit of black to my canvases today, but even though that’s because of how I am feeling, I also realized that I was missing black from my paintings before. They were almost too joyful, and they didn’t feel quite like me yet. They are getting there, and I will continue to make art that I want to make. I know not everyone will like them, but my hope is that I there are enough people who do and want to buy them – because I don’t want to keep my paintings for very long after I make them! [As a side note here.. yes, I do also donate paintings for silent auctions or related fundraising events]
Today was made just a little bit harder because my 6 year old son spent a full day at school. It was a day for them to meet their next-year-Grade-9 buddies (Grade Ones get paired with Grade Nines), and spend the full day with the senior kindergarten kids. I was really looking forward to having a full day to myself. Relaxation! Bliss! Quiet!
I was lost.
I almost crumbled to bits every time someone asked me “How are you?”, including the cashier at Safeway. Safeway was the loneliest place for me today, because he is always with me when I shop – he’s been with me for the last 6 years. I’m still feeling pretty fragile. When my girls reached grade one, it was exciting, but now that it’s my son, my baby, it’s heart-wrenching. I’m feeling the first taste of empty-nest syndrome, and it’s not fun. I wandered around aimlessly for some time today, and then felt guilty for not getting anything done. Oh, and lonely.
Perfect time to get a puppy, right??
Today I am grateful for:
- My brother Nathan visiting us this past weekend. We played board games, went dancing, he went for a bike ride with the kids, we ate sushi, we listened to music – a great weekend. My only complaint: too short!
- A stress-free clothes shopping experience with all three kids. Decisions were made promptly, and there was no fighting. Can’t ask for much more than that!
- Painting! I am so thrilled that every time I start painting, I have so much fun. This is still such a new experience for me (the fun, I mean!), and I’m loving it. Nathan painted with me, too!
Today I am grateful for:
Spending the weekend in Banff with my daughters. It was our 6th annual “Girls-only” trip to Banff!
A fun hike up Johnston’s Canyon, without too much complaining! And yes, they carried the stuffed animals all the way up!
A double-room upgrade after being next to two yappy dogs in the “pet corridor”!
The view out our window after getting the upgrade.
Back-alley roughness made beautiful.
Close encounters with nature.
Fun-loving hubby and son to come home to.
The other day, I showed my hubby the commissioned paintings (not pictured above… I’ll post about them later) I have been working on. His comment was that they seem “safe”. I was feeling a bit hurt by the comment, because I took it to be a bad thing. While we were talking about it some more, he asked, “How would you feel if I said, “Wow, those paintings are really out there! They’re risky!” I would probably have felt the same. I would have been worried that they were too risky, that nobody would like them because they were weird. My initial reaction to any comment, even if it is a compliment, is to take it negatively.
SIDENOTE…[How bad is that, that I can’t even take a compliment seriously? I am working on this. It’s very hard for me, but I tend to assume the commenter either doesn’t know what they are talking about, or they are just saying it to make me feel good. A sad state of affairs, I know. Like I said, I am working on it. First step is to be aware. Second is to take the time to stop, listen and really hear what has just been said to me. Then I repeat it back in my head, using “I” instead of “you”. This is a whole other blog post, really!]
So, back to the “safe” comment. It’s kind of ironic, because a lot of the messages in my journal and art focus on feeling safe. So shouldn’t it be obvious that I might like to ‘paint safe’ sometimes? What does that even mean? When I’m working on a commissioned piece, I feel that some part of it has to be safe, in that I won’t make really random marks that aren’t my usual style. I am not going to experiment on a painting that someone is pre-purchasing, knowing that they are buying from me because they like the stripes and the colours I use. I can take risks on my own time/money, not someone else’s.
Or maybe this all comes down to confidence. Sometimes I have it, sometimes I don’t. When it comes to my paintings, I usually have it, except when I am painting for someone else, apparently! Because they may have expectations about how it should look, and I want to make sure they are getting what they paid for. Anyway, after a little talk with my mom, I also realized that I do have to stop obsessing over it and just “turn the page” (her words). Time to move on. The paintings are all packaged up and ready to go, and I’m crossing my fingers that they will like them!
Post Vacation Hangover
Symptoms (may include but are not limited to):
- Procrastination in the extreme. This includes checking your Facebook/Twitter/blog comments/Pinterest/Flickr every 1/2 hour. This would also include extensive research (and by “research” I mean watching videos) of puppies.
- Thinking about what you want/should be doing instead of actually doing it. In my case, this means think about how I would like to be painting, but time is running out to get in a good session, so it’s not worth it. Then, feel guilty about not doing what you should be doing.
- Eating. I don’t just mean meals, I mean eating to fill up time so that there is no time to do what you want to do (see above).
- Thinking up
excusesreasons why you need to “take it easy”. After all, you were just on vacation. Life is tough. Seriously though, I always seem to get sick after a holiday, so now it’s time for a second vacation! Getting sick means taking a break from working out, which means lower self-esteem, which means feeling guilty about all the above.
- Wishing you were where you were a week ago (see below) instead of where you actually are (oh yeah, and then feeling guilty about not living in the present moment):
Start doing what you want to be doing. For me, this means painting. After painting for 2 hours today, suddenly I have ideas, I want to work out again, I stop feeling guilty about procrastinating, and my self-esteem goes up. Yay!
If you’re a mom, you know this story. You’re busy, constantly getting things done for the family, in the home and away from home. Things could not possibly go on without you. Then you get sick. Not just a sniffle, but dizzy, fall-over kind of sick.
The secret is, that yes, things CAN go on without you. Give your partner some credit! They will find a way to make it work. They’ll eat Kraft dinner, or pizza. They’ll get to school late. Their lunches might be a little less than nutritious. But at the end of the day, they will all make it home, without a scratch.
Above all – take care of yourself. Spend the day in bed. You deserve it. You have time for it.
You have permission to heal.
This is my super lazy post just to present a funny photo of the kids. They dressed up as Violet, Dash and Jack-Jack from the Incredibles. I love that they can make these outfits without help from me (because I’m lazy when it comes to costumes! I’m definitely NOT one of those moms that sews them for Hallowe’en. You want to be a super-ninja-power-ranger-thingamabob? SURE! I’m confident you can come up with a great costume for that! Go for it!!). Cute, eh?
My kids are always begging me to read from their baby books. I try not to do it too often, so it will seem fresh and funny each time we read it. And it’s working. We get so many chuckles out of the things they said when they were little! Here’s a sample – I hope you enjoy it!
Me: “Are you going to use the potty when you are 3?”
My son at 2 yrs, very seriously: “Me think about it.”
After showing him my husband’s downhill skis, my son asked, “Which ones are uphill?”
At 3 1/2 yrs: “When I grow up, I’m not going to get married. I’m just going to drive an ice cream truck.” After some thought, “How will I get it to New York? How long will it take? What if they run out?”
Me, after listening to my son brag about how quick his H1N1 shots were (and this after dreading the shot, with tears and such): “You are a macho man!” Him: “I’m not macho! I’m just a man!”
My son at 3 1/2: “How does Rudolph turn his nose off?”
“Days will come, even when we die” (woah, that one was heavy for a 3 year old).
My favorite by my son at 4 years old: “Why does Buzz [Lightyear] go to infinity? I’m not even sure that’s a real place!”
“When someone is selling a house, is there a realtor AND a fake-tor?”
After talking about how good pasta is in Italy, “Mom, can I go to Pasta World?”
Me, explaining parts of the body: “These are kidneys.” Him: “Where are the adult knees?”
Now for my daughter Z:
At 2 years, looking at the moon, “Need a ladder!”
At 4 years, she liked to tell her daddy, “You’re on the list of NO-SINGERS!!”
One night, she was very concerned about wasps stinging her. Z: “What if you die first? Who will make meals if you die?” Me: “You can!” Z: But I won’t know the ingredients!” Me: “That’s what cookbooks are for.” Z: “But what if I can’t read?” Me: “Someone will help you.” Z: “How will I get rid of the wasps?” Me: “I plan on living a long time, but how about if I leave a number of someone you can call?” Z: “I’m just tired now, Mom” (in other words, please leave!).
A similar conversation about death, at bedtime. Z: “Mommy, what happens if you die? How will I know what’s baking soda and what’s baking powder?” Me: ” Do you want me to show you?” Z: “Yes!!”
Me: “I don’t remember things very well.” Z at 5 years old: “I guess your brain isn’t very smart.” A minute later, “Do I need to apologize for that?”
My other daughter (Z’s twin sister) O:
At 2 years old: “I’m wearing a tank top to cover my nipples!”
Me: “My eyes don’t work very well without glasses.” O: “Maybe you need batteries?”
O: “Are you big?” Me: “Yes.” O: “You are just a little bit big?” Me: “Yes.” O: “You stopped growing?” Me: “Yes.” O: “Who pressed the STOP button?”
After telling my daughters (4 yrs. old) that I was pregnant, O said to my belly, “Hello baby, welcome to our land.” Then, “How did the sperm get inside you?” Me: Do you remember where sperm comes from?” O: “Dad’s penis. But how did that happen if dad was at work the day you made the baby?” (since I told her about it when my husband was at work!).
At 7 years old: “Why does a bee die if it stings someone? Does it have its soul in the stinger?”