I have known that deep in my heart, being a mother and creating art were becoming innately intertwined, but God had a very intentional way of teaching me about the relationship that was building between my two biggest passions. Getting older has taught me that there is so much this life has to offer, but it starts with knowing the truth about who you are.
My daughter has been sick for 6 weeks with 11 of those days spent in the hospital. It began with salmonella (from who knows what), and in the beginning, it was a very mild case. After the first week she seemed recovered, but 3 days later she began complaining about her elbow hurting and then spiked a fever. She was in so much pain and refused to use her right arm. That's when my heart started pounding. It wasn't for another two weeks when we found out that the salmonella bacteria invaded her bloodstream, settled into her elbow and eventually became osteomyelitis (a bone infection) with a septic elbow. I can't imagine how bad she felt all over for that whole period of time. I knew throughout this slow developing infection that something was very wrong, and I was fearful of the very thing that it became, but neither the joint aspiration or repeated blood work indicated any infection. So once it finally became clear that there actually was infection, it was bad, and she was admitted to the hospital. She began IV antibiotics immediately and had two separate surgeries to clean the infected elbow.
A couple posts back, I wrote about having the sense I was approaching something pivotal with my art. Now, here I am reflecting from the other side of an experience that has left me surprisingly revitalized, artistically speaking. To make a relative comparison, I've located my artistic pulse that I've been searching for. I knew I was close and how it would make me feel, but I just couldn't put my finger on it. The work I am creating now is engaging in a way that makes me want to create more and more. The newest paintings in my studio are climbing the walls! This is fun ...like really fun. So, why is painting just now so satisfying?
If you've ever read this blog, you can tell I am a thinker, an analyzer. Most decisions are made with deep consideration. Even when it's unrelated to art, I will explore every perspective and possibility (sometimes confusing the hell out of myself). Mainly, I think like this because I want to understand who I am and what I do and why I do it. I am not one to wing it and hope for the best. My over-analytical mind is part of what led us to discover Lelia's infection before it got terribly worse (I can't even think about it....inhale...exhale). After this experience with our daughter, I can now grasp something enlightening.
I have two strong needs; to be the best mother I can be for my children and give all I have to becoming the artist I know I have the potential to be. I have dedication to both, and that is overwhelming and conflicting at times. I admit that I get caught in between and feel like I am suppose to be good at one or the other. It is without question that I will be with my children when they need me. Not just for the ability to drop everything and spend 10 nights* in the hospital, but I want to be the one who picks them up from school and puts them to bed at night. I also want to be professionally significant and successful and give opportunities to my family.
Here is what God has revealed to me through our experience; not only did He give me those two strong desires, but He equipped me with the ability to fulfill them both. He never intended for me to choose where to place my best self. And so, after not painting or even considering painting for this many weeks, He allows me to pick up my brush with more vitality than ever. I have been given a gift which makes my days feel well-rounded and complete. Being their mother has taught me how to create paintings with my heart, and that gives me a true sense of satisfaction. What I have come to understand is that my love of motherhood and art are so intertwined in my foundation that one simply enhances the other. With relief and gratitude, I realize that it is not necessary to decide where my focus belongs because these loves of mine work together and coexist beautifully and always will.
Also, Lelia is doing great! She has been put on oral antibiotics for another two weeks and has joyfully gone back to school this week! ...meanwhile, Sonny panics when "yah-yah" leaves for school and grins ear to ear when we pick her up! (insert heart emoji here)
*My mother and mother-in-law deserve recognition in this post. They each spent an invaluable amount of time and effort to make this time as smooth as possible for us all. They each spent a night with Lelia while I went home to be with Robert and Sonny, take a shower and attempt some sleep. Love and thanks x100, Babs and Bet! (Another heart emoji goes here)