Sunday, March 19, 2017

Honoring the Wishes of Children

It's been a busy few weekends. I've had a lot of fantastic art opportunities, and for that, I am very grateful. However, it's required a lot of weekends spent in the car, driving at least an hour away to deliver art to be exhibited.

I've tried to make the best of it each time, turning one such trip into a fun-filled day at Congaree National Park outside of Columbia, SC. If you are in the area, I highly recommend spending a day at this magical, mystical place. I've never seen terrain like this! We can't wait to go back. We spent the day there with a friend after dropping off a piece of art for a Women Speak, an art exhibit for Women's History Month Exhibit at the State Library in Columbia. I bought a sun printing kit there in the visitor's center that we can't wait to try out!

As this weekend drew closer, I reminded my son that I'd been invited to attend a gallery reception this weekend in North Carolina to see a friend's show, meet the gallery owner and network for possible exhibition opportunities in that area for the future. Professionally, this was important. And while this gallery is not too terribly far of a drive, but it would have meant another Saturday in the car.

Normally my son is as excited about weekend adventuring as I am, but apparently he'd had enough road tripping for a while, and expressed a deep desire for just a 'stay-at-home' weekend. For both of us. He wasn't whining; he just really, really, really wanted to be home.

Home. Our refuge, our favorite place above all. The place that inspired me to start my Radical Homemakers of South Carolina group. The place where we live and love. Where I create, where I gain my strength, balance, and focus.Yet for the past couple of months, it has seemed that on weekends, we've barely been here. This was an important networking opportunity....but...I am mother before all else. There will be more receptions and more networking opportunities. He is young and in my care only for this short, sweet while. And his voice deserves to be heard. His feeling and opinions matter. And if I, as his mother, don't teach him that his thoughts and feelings are important and deserve respect, who will?

It is always a bit of a balancing act when your life's work doesn't operate around weekly 9 to 5 hours. As an artist, you worry people won't take you or your work seriously if you don't attend or participate in events. But when you work full-time as well, the balancing act can begin feel like a juggling act. I found out that I, too, needed some stay-at-home time. Somehow, in the fun and adventuring of delivering art and attending events, the weekends have been slipping away with very little real, actual rest. Lying in the meadow in the sunshine yesterday, feeling the earth warm beneath me, hearing Spring come alive all around me, I remembered how important this balance of rest and energy is. How important time in nature is. Not just for children, but for all of us.

At the end of the day, my son, the aspiring chef, made Lemon Bars and I made Fudgy Vegan Beet Cupcakes.  A friend visited for coffee and conversation and had the delight of sampling both! Our evening ended peacefully as the day had begun.

Today I'll make some carrot soup with carrots we picked up at the Farmer's Market yesterday and banana bread with the Quinoa flour I splurged on because I've given up bread for Lent. Or maybe I'll let my son make one of them. Or both. Because it's easy to adventure without leaving home, really. And of course, I'll work on a few paintings here and there in between, as I always do.

Happy Weekend!

I currently have work on display at The South Carolina State Library and The Richland County Library, both in Columbia, SC. Pending exhibits in July and August; more information to come!