I don’t remember a winter when I have seen so many gorgeous sunrises (I don’t see many summer sunrises… they happen way too early). Today began with another one. Awakening to a sky painted pink and gold, the morning begins on a lighter note than when its dark and stormy. I breathe a little easier. And when I grab my camera and hop out the back window of my house, I also know that if nothing else comes along and ups the ante, I have a photograph of the day.
Honoring every moment of the life I share with my family is where this project started. Recognizing, acknowledging, and appreciating the highs and the lows and the in-betweens is what I was thinking. What I didn’t imagine, at that time, and I recognize the flaw and short sightedness of it, is that the road would not only lead through highs, lows, and middles of family life and parenting, it would also, and necessarily, lead through the perilous ground of my personal journey. This is the one that is about recognizing and valuing myself and what I do in the world. The one about reclaiming me for myself. It seems that I may have to continually defend and protect the tiny little piece of a different life that I am working too hard to create. Tonight at dinner, I mentioned that I thought I would buy a laptop to allow me to be mobile with my writing and photography. This time, the doubting, questioning voice was that of my son, and it hurt. I have tried hard to raise my children with confidence and support, to make it clear that I believe they can do whatever they set their hearts to. It surprised me, and broke my heart, to hear my son’s voice quoting the internalized naysayers that plague me when I’m feeling insecure. What later occurred to me is that this blog also honors these moments as part of the journey. The fears, doubts, and questions that are inevitable along the way, are necessarily a part of this writing. As much as I might like to, I can’t avoid them. If I do, I am lying. If I write that the only difficult thing about trying to piece together this other life, while still fulfilling my responsibilities to my children, is finding the time to do so, then the image I project is false. This part of my personal reclamation project is not fun. There are tears and frustration at how hard it sometimes is, but something keeps nudging me, calling me back. Usually the help comes from friends who believe in me, who remind me that I believe in myself when I have forgotten. I just went back and reread the post I wrote on January 19th about recommitting to my personal dreams. That was written on another day when the words of a friend picked me up, shook me, dusted me off, and set me back on my feet. It seems I have gotten a little off track in the last week too, buried perhaps, in the endless to-do list; not really sure where to start; side-tracked by concerns and distractions. Today it was another friend who reminded me. I was having a really hard time deciding whether or not it makes sense to go to the reception in New York for the “Picturing an Ethical Economy” exhibition. She said, “Oh, it will be fun!”. My reaction shocked me when I heard it come out of my mouth. I said, “Its not that…” and then I trailed off, realizing that I was saying “fun” was not a good enough reason to go. Wow! That was a revelation. I still haven’t decided, but I’m leaning towards going. Both my friend and another photographer made it pretty clear that if I don’t go, I may truly regret it. I don’t know how big of a deal this reception will be. I don’t know that I will meet other photographers or people who might be interested in my photographs or writing, but I might. And I have a photograph in an exhibition in New York and I think I need to go see it hanging there. It will be fun.
I realize that some readers may come to this blog expecting it to be more about being a stay-at-home mom in the younger stage. That’s an intense stage and I would have loved to have access to a blog or two when my kids were little, detailing how other stay-at-home moms were managing. But I can’t write about that stage anymore except as it applies to this one. The joys and concerns were different. And while I’ve always wondered what compelled me to actually stay at home with my kids rather than “get a nanny and a job” (my favorite threat when it was all overwhelming), I didn’t have the time or inspiration to do anything about creating another layer to my life until about ten years ago when my youngest daughter started preschool. The following link however, will take up some of that slack if thats what you have arrived here looking for.
I found an article in Ms magazine in the waiting room of my friend’s office the other day, and brought it home specifically to add to my blog. The title “Cyberhood is Powerful” caught my eye. It lists a lot of blogs by mom’s that address different topics – specifically those of interest to other moms … everything from politics to food to design to feminist issues. Its well worth reading the article and checking out some of the listings: http://www.msmagazine.com/summer2009/mommyblogs.asp