My kids are all four playing pirates this morning. My oldest daughter drew a pirate map with all the locations on the map corresponding to the topography of our back yard (such as it is). She crumpled and wrinkled the map so it looked like a well-worn 8.5 x 11 piece of parchment with a big X marking the spot. They sprayed some water on top of a tarp for the wild water, which they had to cross to get to the booty. They’re swashbuckling with sticks. They are wearing bandannas tied on their heads, and the oldest one put a gold hoop in one ear, with her pirate bandanna slightly askew on her head. Just one earring–hilarious! She made pirate lunches for everyone, and they headed out for faraway lands. They even had the baby out there, 6 months old and looking extremely shifty, just as a pirate should. I love it when my kids play together. I will even ignore the phone when their friends call to play because I want them to have good memories and lots of downtime together. Is that underhanded? Maybe. Do I care? Not really.
I took cute pictures, but I cannot post them because I am a psycho paranoid mom. That’s right. I am terrified of someone seeing my pictures and taking my kids. I love seeing pictures of kids in handknits on other people’s blogs and I wish I could bring myself to do the same. Baby knits look so much better on the babies, and I have really cute kids. Alas, I just can’t do it. My fear has me in its grips. (Cute fabric above from Timeless Treasures.)
I’ve been reading a great book lately, and I alluded to its author in my last post. She is Jean Ray Laury. She has written children’s books, historical quilt records, books on photo transfers, woodcuts, doll making, rug making and applique. I have bought many of her books. (Most are out of print.) I came to know her through her fabrics, which she designed some time ago for Free Spirit.
I have an older book of hers, The Creative Woman’s Getting-It-All-Together-At-Home Handbook, published in 1975. 1975, people! The year after I was born! I bought it a while and began reading it again recently. She includes quotes from women artists who work in various media. The book is about finding time and space to design, quilt, weave, spin, write, create. It’s also about setting priorities and refusing to buy into the stereotype of “Wonder Woman, Mighty Mom, and the Amazon” (to quote).
She talks about generalities and specifics. She talks about trading work, making money, finding a studio, negotiating spouse/partner relationships, being an artist and a mother. She interviews women who are single and married, women who have children and don’t. I’m going to quote from this book from time to time. As I’ve read the book I have had so many aha! moments, and when I read it my determination to pursue my creative endeavors grows. I can’t say enough about it. Find a used copy on half.com or amazon (cheap!) and make a commitment to yourself and your art. Here’s the excerpt I chose for today:
How you view yourself varies of course with the ages of your children, your relationship to your partner, and your particular responsibilities at the time. But I have always thought of myself as an artist and a writer. That established something crucial and basic for me. I added to this some other enriching and vital relationships (marriage, family, home) but they didn’t change what I was. My needs as a person must come first. If they didn’t, I think I might have been a poor mother. As it is, I feel good about the kind of mother I am and about my relationship with my children. Because I love my work I don’t love my children less: it has given me a greater capacity to enjoy them and to encourage them in their own pursuits (p. 11, italics added).