St. Paddy’s Day

Camellia

Today’s title really has nothing to do with the writing, its just that I’m a good Irish girl and its St. Patrick’s day. I thought all along, while I was writing tonight, that something of that would show up, but it didn’t, so I’m taking the liberty of honoring my heritage in the title, with almost no reference to it beyond that point. I didn’t even photograph the lamb and potatoes I made for dinner. (My kids don’t like Corned Beef.)

Instead of coming home from taking my charming 13 year old to school this morning and sitting down with my morning pages, I sat down with my camera. 13 year old girls can be merciless at times, and I simply didn’t feel like rehashing the details of the morning and previous evening in words. Better just to let it slide away while slicing open flower buds and seed pods with a razor.

It turned out that aside from that inside bit of the magnolia which I photographed the other day, the camellia provided the most interesting image. How appropriate. I’ve actually taken many photographs of camellias in the time since I changed my business name to Camellia Blossoms, but most of them haven’t been very interesting. This time, I set up a light source that I’ve used for photographing jewelry, along with a reflector board on either side of the glass plate I was using to hold my “specimens”, arranged my tripod with the camera lens pointed directly down at the plate and started playing with different bits. I started with a pretty strand of watermelon tourmaline beads, thinking that the green would be appropriate for St. Paddy’s day.

Watermelon Tourmaline

I love the variations of green and pink as the two colors approach each other on the strand, and was surprised to discover that I didn’t like the photographs of the beads as well as the flower. I didn’t actually slice open this camellia, just did a little minor surgery trying to get the insides. The unopened camellia bud that I did slice open has potential, but my cut wasn’t perfect and up macro close, it looked a little like I’d sliced it open with a chain saw. I’ll try that one again another time.

After last nights whirlwind of free-association writing mixed with flashes back and forward through time, I’m feeling a little more subdued. I don’t have my writing companions sitting around the table with me trading writing “vibes” and amping eachother’s creativity. Its also late and I’m sticking to my guns tonight about getting to bed.

Tomorrow Charlotte and I are going to visit the aquarium. I think the last time we did that, she was in preschool. She was supposed to visit the Long Beach Aquarium near Los Angeles for a class at school before she came home, but was in a swim meet and missed the trip so she emailed her professor to see if the aquarium here would work. Instead, we’re going on a field trip together! I probably won’t worry about losing her or make her hold my hand while we’re there out of concern that she might wander off and disappear. I won’t spend as much time counting the little heads I’m responsible for as watching the jellyfish and otters. I’m suddenly scrolling through snippets of other field trips memories with all three kids, not only to the Seattle Aquarium, but Point Defiance and the Seattle Zoo. Then there’s the Science Center and Seattle Children’s Theatre. I could probably sit here all night…

Having Charlotte home from college during a week when there’s not a lot going on, unlike Christmastime, feels very different. While it seems completely “normal” there’s also a feeling of rarity about it. On some level, I take note of each twinkle in her eye, each smile and each familiar gesture in a way I probably never have, knowing that next week she will be gone again and I will feel the emptiness in the places that these things now fill. She’s been away six months. That’s long enough for me to understand that from now on, those familiar Charlotte-isms will be rationed; doled out in small parcels and tidbits during vacations and visits. The negotiations we began at the time of my visit to her in January have sunk in. We are relating to each other differently than b.c. (before college). I’m sure that will continue to change, but its evident and I like it. It was always going to be like this. She was always a small grown up.

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4 thoughts on “St. Paddy’s Day

  1. Its wonderful to see how you keep your self identity and joy while filling the role of parent. A lot of people lose themselves when they have a kid. Your flowers are a testament to a mom who is a good role model.

    • Thank you starrynightcoach for your comment as well as for your compliment. I wish I could say that I never lost myself after having children. I did… at least to a certain extent. Its just that I have done a lot of reclaiming. I woke up, saw what was on the horizon if I continued the track I was on, and decided that it wasn’t very appealing. The reclamation project continues. I do think however, that the examples we are given as children and the values our parents pass on, are the true sources of that “losing of one’s self” with motherhood. I think the best thing I’ve done for my kids is engage the process of reclaiming me – particularly at the ages they were and are. I think they understand the perils that I saw and turned away from. Its easy to put your kids first ALWAYS. At some point though, one has to recognize that doing so in an unlimited way teaches them only that you (the parent) don’t value yourself. If I don’t value myself, how will they ever value me and what I do. Not only that, but how do they ever learn to value themselves! Yikes! Its a slippery slope.

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