Sunday, May 8, 2016

A mother's creative legacy

When I was growing up life was all about the practical things. With seven kids, my mom didn't have time for anything more than what "needed" to be done. There was no car-pooling or shuttling to and from sports. If we were interested in an activity it had to be after school - with a late bus to get back home. Seven kids. It's always busy.

Our Mom was keeping us fed, clothed and on task with schoolwork. Not so much "entertained." There really wasn't time or energy for hobbies and extracurricular activity. But in all her busy-ness, Mom managed to make some time to be creative. At night.

As a child, that seemed pretty mysterious. We'd go to bed with Mom folding laundry and in the morning there was a slip-painted pottery dish drying in the kitchen. Or a skirt, sewn overnight. There were even a few oil paintings - copies of masterworks from a mail-away course. And it was never discussed. No talk about how fulfilling it felt to be creative or wistfulness about not having more time for oneself. It just happened.

So here's the thing I learned: if it's important, you get it done.

When I was young I'm sure I never saw my mother sleep. I kind of imagined she had these evenings of "making" and in the morning - there was her latest creation. Sort of magical. But I knew it wasn't easy to find that time. And I think I knew it took dedication to realize whatever her artistic creation  du jour might have been. My mother kept her fingers dipped in a creative pool as much as her busy life allowed. And that was quite a lesson in commitment for me.

(Can't find a photo of the 7 of us, but, here's the line up of 19/20 cousins... Olivia stepped behind Jordan and missing Emily, yet to be born)
Byers cousins 1993
All of our lives are complicated - regardless of the number of little feet running around - and it can be hard to set priorities. But it's always worthwhile, and important, to make time for personal growth.
I'm grateful to my mom for quietly setting that example.

I wish I had one of the oil paintings my mother did back in the day. They may not have been technically wonderful but they were wonderfully inspirational to me. Once we were no longer underfoot Mom's creative talents turned to stained glass and I will treasure forever the beautiful stained glass window she made for my home.

Apple Branch stained glass by Veronica Byers

I hope all you Moms out there have a wonderful day and remember to take care of yourself as well as you care for your family. (Well... let's be honest, shoot for half as well)

Happy Mother's Day!

Thanks for joining me on my personal, creative and self-fulfilling journey!
(PS - thanks, Mom!)

1 comment:

  1. Love this! Never knew about Granny's nighttime creativity. Creative enough just to keep up with all of you ;)


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