Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Time Machine: When We Left this Place

Being in New Orleans, Louisiana for the first time in a few years reminded me of this post I wrote after my last visit. The following was originally posted in August of 2011 & feels as true today as it did then.

We left this place when I was 6. As the youngest family member, others who were there have to be reminded of this when reminiscing. Things that are very vivid in their memories aren’t present at all in mine.

As is often the case, I’m certain the opposite is also true. The memories of six-year olds often include as much fantasy as reality as everything is viewed through the rearview mirror. Objects are closer than they appear.

I remember riding with my mother to take my older sister to school in Lafayette, Louisiana. Mom might remember the street names or the traffic. I remember a restaurant we drove by each day because it had huge frosted glass globes dangling from the ceiling in a 1970’s effort at being modern. I thought they looked like beach balls & entertained myself with ideas about them coming loose from their tethers & the restaurant patrons getting to play with beach balls glowing with light.

I remember the shiny hardwood floors of the white wood frame building that held my bustling kindergarten school- the same building that many years before had been my father’s high school. Did he also wonder at the shine on those floors? How you could so easily become mesmerized by your reflection?

I remember the accents. Even last week, as I walked along the streets in New Orleans where I was attending a conference, when I heard the thick saucy song of a Cajun accent, I remembered the faceless voices of my early childhood.

I remember finding a good hiding place between the tall roots of cypress trees during hide & seek with my cousins, on hot summer days with the air thick & heavy with the weight of Louisiana humidity.

I remember picnic tables covered in newspaper & piled high with shrimp, metal frame lawn chairs & the laughter of people I loved & who loved me back.

These are the things I remember. Most of the rest, I forget…which makes it that much more confusing for me- the peace that descends on me when I cross the state line, deepening the further south I go. Somewhere near I-10 I have only the most distant & vague understanding of the concept of anxiety.

My mother tells me (a little too knowingly, if you ask me) that it is because my father was healthy when we lived here. Maybe she is right, as mothers so often are- whether we want them to be or not.

I was only 6 when we left this place, when I started forgetting.

Last week I realized something… I may have left Louisiana 30 years ago, but it never left me.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Coming Soon...

One of the many challenges of motherhood has been finding time to be creative. Let's be real... I have a full-time professional job & adopted 3 kids. Gone are the evenings spent painting leisurely in the studio.
But I have to make things- it's a big part of who I am. (an "art lady" who now "builds bracelets" according to the boys.) The embroidery began on the first day school was out for a snow day.
It's a great creative outlet & a lot can be accomplished in between spelling words, dance parties & refereeing ninja battles. I'll still paint when there are larger blocks of uninterrupted time, but I'm finding many other ways to be creative on the fly.
There will be a new Etsy shop in the next few weeks, one with lots of new creations- starting with one-of-a-kind hand-embroidered bracelets... some made from inside a fort. All made by a mom unwilling to give up her creative life.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Silver Lining Opportunity

"It hurts to look at the clouds, but it also helps, like most things that cause pain." - The Silver Linings Playbook

I have found myself sitting in front of the computer repeatedly over the last couple of weeks. 

"Say something. Say anything." I would tell myself.

"Explain yourself." I would think.

"Don't explain yourself, just smile & pretend like nothing happened." I would hear in my head, in a voice that sounded suspiciously like my mother's, now that I look back on it.

"Talk about the vacation- that was great. Yes, talk about the vacation with your family." 

"Write a post about 'circling the wagons'. Write about how when someone you love has been treated poorly you don't want to focus on anything else in the world other than helping them find a way it can never happen again."

"Write about the heart-to-heart discussions you have had, things you have learned about what you are willing to take and not willing to take. How you would treat people if you ever find yourself on the other side of a similar situation."

"Write about the great ideas that came out of the whole mess, once you had picked it all to pieces. About the silver linings. About how lucky you are in so many other ways. About how you wouldn't trade your life with anyone else in the world."

So there. I wrote about it all. All of it & none of it. So now maybe I can get on with it & write about something else.