|A lovely young family lives here now and they are making my Grandparent's farm their own|
|Hope's 90th, June 25, 2009|
I thought I would be sitting on the screen porch with my coffee blogging, but alas, I am the chief executive chauffeur. The CEC. Last week I spent an average of three hours a day in the car, getting the children to where they needed to be to fulfill their destinies. Art. Music. Outdoor life. Friends.
The result? I've washed a load of Mary's clothes everyday. . .grass stains and blood and paint and glue. The blood from the thirty-seven mosquito bites she has picked.
Calvin has lyme disease. The bullseye deer tick bite. So we will run a month of antibiotics that will make your stomach shiver. Lucky for him, we, I should say, he, caught it early. And he's not picking it.
Our construction? It is at a full halt. Mud. Crud. City plumbing inspectors. I am madly compensating for my complete lack of control regarding this. . . by micromanaging every other detail of the house and garden. Someone leaves a dirty sock at the front door? Library book on the floor? Hell hath no fury like a suburban stay at home mother undergoing two simultaneous construction projects.
Let's get a pizza again tonight, dear.
I've transplanted every cotton picking fern and hosta and perennial until I truly have green thumbs. My pedicure is ruined. I've recycled about six cubic yards of mulch from the back yard to the front yard. Mostly alone. You may wonder why I would move "used" mulch while we pay someone to put boulders in with a tractor in the back yard. I guess it's just the Iowa farm girl mixed in with the suburban write-the-check mentality.
I'm reading a book by Twyla Tharp called The Creative Habit. It was recommended to the SPTG by our May guest clinician. Twyla's a dancer and choreographer. I'm LOVING this book. But, it's making me think about mistakes I've made and continue to make and the choices I make everyday. She gets me all excited about a creative routine in my life--involving exercise and practice and discipline and beauty and art and self-fulfilment. Solitude breeds art.
She doesn't have kids.
She talks about nature versus nurture--Dr. Suzuki's mantra. She writes, "destiny, quite often, is a determined parent." She's talking about Mozart in that paragraph. Everybody thinks of Mozart as touched by the hand of God but his dad also got him to every teacher in Europe and taught him every instrument and counterpoint and took him to every concert imaginable.
I watched a documentary on Margot Fonteyn, another dancer. I'm on a dancer kick. Her mother moved her to England from China so that she could take ballet from the best teacher. The teacher was old and said no. The mom rejected that response and said, no, you will take her. The rest is ballet history. That night I dreamed about Rudolph Nureyev, but that's beside the point.
Story after story about some parent who pushes through. Taylor Swift's parents moving to Nashville.
Of course these are driven children. They deserve their parents sacrifices, I believe.
Where does that leave the artist with children? Trying to create a creative routine for three people and nurture three talents and still take them to the pool in the afternoon?
And checking for ticks.
And another pizza.
Twyla discribes her biggest mistake as trying to do everything. She suggests doing one thing and doing it really well and passionately. Giving it your all. Gerber, we make baby food. (Note sarcasm and reference to the french horn teacher I hated. . . )
I pull tiny weeds from the garden in patterns of a few square feet. There will always be weeds. The whole garden will never be perfect all at once. There has to be a rhythm and a give and take. We missed piano practice this morning to go to a drum and guitar lesson. I haven't been to yoga since the kids were home from school. I guess I'm stretching myself in other ways. . .mostly my patience. Does that count?
We can't do everything well. We can't give our kids everything they need and still get everything we need too.
I don't have the answers, at all.
It feels like often my Creative Habit is extremely sleep deprived and chaotic and not at all focused and artistic. The only thing I can do is to pick one weed at a time and save one hosta plant and drive to the lessons and the camps and think about what we are doing and how it fits into the big picture. Cull out the activities that don't feed us. Have some faith that a mother who gets a little of what she needs is a better mother and stay up later to practice. Sneak away to Gerten's greenhouse for an hour. Order another pizza. It isn't Twyla's beautiful routine--it's considerably less disciplined and it's a heck-of-a-lot more noisy. Lacking solitude? Yeah. My own Creative Habit will be extremely different than hers, but no less determined. It will have to be broader--even than that of the parent of an only child who moves across the country for the best teacher. And it will have to be flexible. Tick bites happen. We have to give each of our children what they need hopefully close to when they need it. And we have to secure our own oxygen mask first.
That's why after ten days of not-blogging I'm sitting here at my reclaimed from my family computer while the giant wrestling match ensues upstairs, intermixed with sounds of keyboards and drums and tears and laughter.
What do we really love? What feeds us?
Twyla's words are meant to help us find our voice. Sitting here writing for a few minutes has helped me regain mine.