I began this post more than a year ago -- in January of 2007 -- and for some reason, even after revisiting it a few times, I have never published it. But after my two weeks away from the computer, and stepping back into this space with fresh "eyes", I feel like there is something in this post that I want to share with you now.
One afternoon in January of 2007, when I began this post, our little family was sitting together in the living room, and looking around the room, I really felt struck by the fact that we were (and are) growing into the family I'd always hoped we would. As I sat in the chair knitting this hat, my husband and James built with blocks, and Elisabeth, in typical Elisabeth fashion, flitted happily between one very creative activity to another. (From costumes to hairstyles to art projects to movement and music ... she is the most alive person I have ever known.)
Although it was not the first time the four of us were playing and creating side-by-side, it was one of the first times that I stopped to realize how important this is to me.
Despite many struggles with raising our children, with jobs & money, and lack of time, my husband and I have managed to create a space, or even a moment in time, where peace and creativity flourish. This is so very important to me, and the moments in which these values are truly captured are very special.
I am under no delusion that our children will magically circumvent becoming aloof, even disdainful, teenagers. (I can always hope, though!) But in this moment, while they are still so very little, I am glad that we are placing value on creating together, on working with our hands, and on making and doing rather than waiting for the next outside stimulus to come and sweep us along. I hope that this "foundation" will serve them well later, even when a time comes that they are ready to move on from our little family of four into a bigger world.
I'm thinking about all of this once again as I re-examine what it means for me to be blogging. I received the sweetest, most generous, honest, and inspiring email from a long-time blog reader the day before yesterday. Her words, and the fact that she has drawn inspiration from my life and my family in her own life, on the other side of the earth, humbled and moved me very deeply. Thank you, Iris.
There is something amazing about the connections to be found through this medium, and the opportunities it presents to so many of us are kind of astounding. But, I also have found that the flipside of this (for me) can be a tendency to come across too perfect. I've read discussions around blogland about this, and I have never quite agreed with it. I think it's completely fine to keep the negative elements of my life to myself, and to choose to be positive here. And I am most definitely a perfectionist. I work very slowly, whether it's sewing, knitting, or any other "work." In fact, I think some of you might laugh at how very slowly I sew on the machine! This is to say that I do strive for perfection all the time, because I am a person who gets anxious about small mistakes.
But, I'm not perfect. I make lots of mistakes in my art, work, and life. I'm not a perfect mother. I struggle every single day with remaining present with my children, with balancing my own needs and wants as an individual with the often very disparate needs and wants of two children, and the everyday tasks of a household. When I started this blog, stepping out of severe depression, I started it for myself. My intention was to record one beautiful and positive thing about my life each day, when all the days seemed to run together. For a long time, I believe that I was successful at this. But after a while, I think my focus shifted away from my original intention and more toward "fitting in" with other bloggers. And not that there's anything so harmful in that (what a great group of women (and men, too!), artists, mothers, and creators to fit into!) but I feel like I lost my focus, and lost a little bit of what made this space so very special to me.
So, I am beginning again, reminding myself that the blog is for me, for fun, and for remembering that there are small miracles in every single day, not just the days when I have a craft to show off or a fantastic photo to share.
Thank you to those of you who choose to spend a little bit of your own precious time here with me -- every day, or just once in a while. I hope you will keep visiting, and leaving comments for me. I hope that my new commitment to focus on the special, small moments in my day-to-day life (and crafts, too!) will touch you and bring a little bit of joy and beauty into your days.
PS: The photos here are from our trail walk today. I shared them here because of the peace that my children exude when they are free like this. Their squabbles seem to melt away on the trail.