When Eden was 18 months and Iris was 6 months in the belly, I met a second generation artist who was successfully creating art pieces, and thriving at it. She did metal sculptures, big pieces, and had a huge workshop any artist would love to create in. However, as a young girl, she always knew that her mom resented the children she had birthed and the time they took away from her work. She never wanted to make her kids feel that way. So when she had hers, she ended up dropping her art. For years. And it sat and sat. She once told her mom, who didn't understand why she wasn't putting everything in to becoming the "successful" artist she had the talent to become, that she was working on her biggest masterpieces ever, and if she messed those up, she lost everything.
Last night, as I went to bed, I was pondering her words. I am surrounded by things I simply can not find the time to create. Passions I have chosen not to pursue right now because they have been dwarfed by passions that run with tiny feet and laugh with adorable baby chuckles. Not creating for me is a slow and painful death. I feel alive when I create, even if it is as simple as planting vegetable seeds. Yet from scripture I know that death for the purposes of God is the gateway to resurrection life. I am still trying to carve out a place, a space to create in, even if only sometimes- just for me. I have absolutely given up on developing photography any further at this point. It was a nice idea, a life long idea. And I love taking photos. But I have not even had time to take photos of my own kids much this year.
Some people eat out a lot. Some people buy boxes at the store and in five minutes feed their family out of it. That lifestyle is rarely mine, and that is how I prefer it. I know too much about nutrition (though I still have much to learn!) to get away with that. After all, I am creating human lives here. I better give them the building blocks they need to have healthy brains and properly functioning, healthy bodies. If I had no access to quality food I would just pray and trust God with the whole thing. But I do. I know that processed food is bad, so why give it to my family and expect God to give them amazing health? If I was ignorant, I could do that. But I know better, and God has entrusted them to me. I am building my family, one bite at a time. And they are worth it. And I enjoy cooking. And so I invest my time into their future, and their health.
As far as child care? Sure, there is a lot I could do if I had child care even one day a week. What a nice idea. But how could I justify child care (which we can not afford, period) when my husband and I have only had three "real" childless dates in a year and a half. I can not neglect my husband in order to pursue my artistic passions. I would much rather have a real date with my husband than paint. We are building a life long marriage, and that takes effort and creativity too. Not to mention, it is eternally significant.
And then there is pre-school. There is nothing that I would rather be doing with my three year old right now than creatively going after her education and learning. She loves it. She needs it. And both of my girls need me. Our new baby needs me, and will need a lot of me when he/she is born around the beginning of the year. And I will eat it up. I can't wait to take care of my little newborn, and watch them grow up just like we are watching Eden and Iris.
My masterpieces are not on canvas right now. One is tall, and we are learning how to make a beautiful marriage. One is three feet, and soaking up the love and learning. One is around two feet and is just delighting in me delighting in her. And one is maybe a foot, safely inside my belly, bouncing and jumping and working his/her little baby legs. These are all my treasures. I will not bring my paintings or photographs to heaven with me, but if I succeed in helping these get there at their times then I know I was a successful artist.