Tuesday, March 1, 2011

doing it

On my way home from the school pick-up I stopped in at the art store. I told the kids I needed some paint. To my amazement my two eldest children were bewildered, what kind of paint?  Paint for me to paint, I said! "You are going to paint?" almost in unison. Yes, I am. "Wow."

I think they thought it was a myth that their mother painted. I mean there are some paintings in the house that I'd done five or ten years before. I had always known they were interested  in me taking it up again, I just  didn't foresee their excitement. They wanted to know what I was painting, for whom I was painting, everything.  I think Eliza  thought it was like cooking she wanted to know if she could help. That I did I foresee and had bought her a tempura block and paper of her own.

My seven year old asked me "Mum what did it feel like when you picked up a paintbrush again for the first time after so long?" as he was snuggled in a chair, reading Diary of a Wimpy kid in the sun room as I painted.
not finished yet, she says
I was taken aback for a moment, what a profound comment.  "It felt like I'd never stopped," I told him, "a bit like learning to ride a bike." "Ahhh," he said, he completely understood. Whenever our kids say something really clever like that my husband and I run off at the first given second to share with the other the little insight.

Phoenix, my son was around two when I was last working toward a few exhibitions in cafés. I asked him if he remembered that, he said he could, that it was in the café that is now run by "some different people." I liked that he was in there with me, that we were just talking, it was nice.

I began to think of how important it is for your children to see you as someone other than a mother or a father, for them to see you step outside your usual role, especially if you have been a stay at home parent for as long as they can remember.

I know that for me growing up with a stay at home Mum, I was always amazed when my mum did stuff that was a little off kilter, a little unexpected. Like  when she would change a fuse wire, put together my new bunk bed when I was five, carry a burning roll of newspaper in her hand when we needed something from the garage, we had no electricity out there. (This particular memory makes me laugh and think why didn't we just have a torch?)

She always told me how her father could fix or make anything. I was always in awe of how she talked of his skill. I'd like to think my kids see me as multi-dimensional, as skilled.  I may not carry a burning torch, but I am hopefully paving the way to doing something for myself, that all the pieces will come together to form my venture and my future.


  1. that's right, there was no electricity in the garage, always wondered why she used burning paper...thanks for the memories xoxoxo (sis)

  2. I love those moments, of unexpected insightfulness from little people...and the running off afterwards to repeat it to each other. (Usually followed by, ahh that boy, and a little head nodding.)
    I think it's important for kids to see their parents in different roles too... shows them they have options, as well.
    Beautiful painting. Glad it felt like you had never stopped.

  3. I'm reading a book called Composing a Life, about women who did all sorts of things alongside motherhood which formed not careers, but whole lives - very inspiring - sort of like picking up a paintbrush after so many years with the kids still in the room, or starting to write again! Lovely post.