Thursday, August 13, 2009

Just spread your wings and fly

There’s something about the possibility that lies in a full day stretched out in front of oneself. An entire day just for you. Such was the gift I was given today by my parents when they loaded up the three boys, with their three suitcases and three activity bags, three scooters and three helmets and headed north to Maine. It was a bittersweet departure, perhaps slightly more bitter than sweet as I turned and walked alone into the house. . .the very quiet house.

I had big plans to clean and then do something creative. I was brought up under the “work first play later” ethic. That coupled with the fact that my bathrooms were starting to smell, how should I say, less than fresh (I know, eewww!) sent me on a scouring spree. The counters, the floors, the toilets and showers, sinks, dishes. There was so much more to be done, but I had promised myself a hard stop at noon.

I kicked off my creative time with a bit of blog hopping to inspire me. Some good stuff here and a sketch over there. Checked in on the forums at Dixie. Glanced at the clock: just after 1. Something caught in my throat as a small panic came over me. I have this day off and it’s wasting away from me. Yeah, I had done some cleaning , but heck I still had a bathroom left and hadn’t vac'd rugs. There was something about this freedom of an entire day to do whatever I please that paralyzed me. I was overwhelmed at the thought of all the projects I could be working on. Or maybe I should clean out my 350 email inbox. Or how about unzipping digi downloads. Perhaps updating my desperately behind blog with our summer days. Or, yikes, should I just ditch the idea of doing anything creative and resume my cleaning stint. At least then I might feel accomplished.

I read a quote last night by Anne Lamott that pretty much sums it all up:

I used to not be able to work if there were dishes in the sink. Then I had a child and now I can work if there is a corpse in the sink. Because you’re always on borrowed time.

Since becoming a mother, my creative time is borrowed time. I snag a couple minutes while they eat lunch to pull photos for a layout. I sketch a page while they ride bikes in the driveway. On a good day, I can pull an easy layout together while they occupy themselves with a toy or game. When given the luxury of a full day, I, as my friend Kayla put it, am a bird whose cage door has been left open but doesn't know to fly out. So little birdie-self, the clock is ticking on this gift of a day, hop on over to the door, and just spread your wings and fly!

1 comment:

kate said...

Michelle, wow, can I relate to this one! Not necessarily the whole day to myself part (now that would be scary!)but the notion of borrowed time. It is so true!

I think I told you, or maybe not, that we are moving to Alabama. We're not all that thrilled about it, 1. because we just moved her to SC ten months ago, and 2. because its, well, ALABAMA! Pete's job is being relocated there and it's a good job, so it's hard to just walk away from it. Anyway, my point being that all of the sudden I have triple the stuff on my plate with a relocation and trying to keep the house spotless to sell + a previous goal to complete my thesis in the next few months, and all of the other things life throws often your way. I have huge guilt issues about time with the kids and time away from being creative in any ways these days! But I imagine that if I was given the rare chance to have time to myself, it would be incredibly challenging to figure out what to do!

I hope you made it work, I look forwrad to seeing/hearing what you did!