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   Welcome to my blog! I'll be posting thoughts about art, photos, happenings, and other things that strike me--and hopefully my readers--as interesting. And please visit my website by clicking the link to the right--thanks!

   Also please check out my second blog, The Painting Archives to see older (pre-2004) paintings for sale.


Thursday, May 10, 2007
  growth
My younger son Ross will graduate from high school in a few weeks and I've been drawn into the nostalgia that surrounds this event...we're submitting a cropped version of this photo for the wall of childhood photos that will hang at the high school graduation party. We laughed that Ross (on the left, his older brother on the right) is still covered with mud after all these years--he is heading to Northern AZ University in the fall for a degree in ceramics.

Marveling at the growth of our kids is of course part of the joy of parenthood... memories of baby and childhood plus pride in the young adults they've become are all in the mix. But as I looked today at this photo of my two little boys (while tearing up a bit, I admit) I realized that while I'm celebrating Ross's graduation in this complex flood of emotions, including a fond look back over 18 years, it's kind of hard to have that perspective on my own previous two decades.

Photos from the same time period as this one show that the mother of these little boys was not only younger, but slimmer, more energetic and had far fewer gray hairs than today's version. And when I look at her image, my thinking kind of stops there. There isn't the same fondness for that woman that I feel towards these little boys--it's more like envy, or distress over the ravages of time. I'm thinking this is probably a common experience for those of us digging through old albums as our kids prepare to leave home.

But I do also recall that younger woman was chronically starved for studio time, often stressed and rushed, naive in certain ways, and going through all the struggles of an emerging artist. A lot has happened in 18 years towards her maturity as an artist (and perhaps as a person too.)

So I'm thinking, growth is growth, and let's celebrate it in all its forms! In spite of seeing it beautifully demonstrated by children, I think we're a bit slow to appreciate it in ourselves, distracted as we may be by gray hair and loss of youth. To all parents of grads--that kid that was you 18 years ago was sure cute, but look how you've grown!
 
Comments:
We have a family blog since we're all spread out, and I love posting found photos such as yours to remind whoever of how much they've changed... or haven't.

Reflection does bring tears sometimes, even envy of who we were and can never be again... but hey! Life is good and someday we'll be envious of this point in time. That's about as deep as I can reach right now. KJ
 
Rebecca,

Hi! I'm a fellow painter, and just came across your site and blog. Beautiful work! I just had to respond to this post. I'm the mother of two young children (ages 3 and 6). I'm at that point where I'm trying hard to get back into the swing of things with painting, but am, as you said, chronically starved for studio time, stressed and rushed. It's nice to hear your perspective. That studio time will happen... sooner or later... most likely later. The kids are young for such a short time. These preschool years with them are flying.

Thanks for the inspiration!
Giselle
 
Thanks to both of you for your comments. I had to smile at "someday we'll be envious at this point in time.." (how true, and it reminds me of the saying, getting older is hard, but it's better than the alternative!

And Giselle, yeah I've been in your shoes or something like them...glad you saw this post if it gave you a bit of support. How great to have blogs, internet, email, etc. nowadays to help with the isolation artist parents so often face. None of that was in place when my kids were little (I think, in this photo, they are same ages as yours are now.)

I looked at your paintings online and they're beautiful...hang in there!
 
oops I misquoted KJ--should be "of" this point in time...why isn't there an edit feature when posting comments?
 
yeah.....I've thought the same about wishing to have this point in time back. Years ago, who would have thought I would think 61 was still young...or pretend it to myself when I can.
I don't know how any mom can even think of a career while raising their families. I loved painting but rarely did any until last kid was in high school. I've been making up for lost time ever since.
 
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