A Life’s Work?
Lying in bed the other night, I got to thinking about people who have found their life’s work, whether it’s painting, teaching, singing, performing brain surgery or designing bridges. I am still trying to find my passion.
I went with my granddaughter to her school’s “art night” last week, and it was so much fun seeing the kids fired up about art. They had nature sculpture (bits of wood, bark, rocks, leaves etc.), shaving cream, origami, paper hat-making and some tables we never got to. Chloe proudly introduced me to her music, art and PE teachers (and I am thrilled her elementary school still HAS music, art and PE teachers!). They had some canvases set up with palettes (wisely limited to a few colors) for people to paint on, and the finished abstract paintings were given away in a raffle. I made a few dabs and chatted with the young man (a fifth-grade member of the school’s art club) about how much I enjoy the spring of a paint-filled brush on canvas. It made me want to come home and set up an easel and paint.
I have so many other projects going on right now it’s unlikely I’ll get to painting, except with Chloe, any time soon. I am working on a Shutterfly photo album of my daughter’s January 25 wedding; on Saturday I put together a quick flyer for our church choir’s variety show and fundraiser this week; then there is household stuff, personal care, shopping–I don’t need to go into detail.
I usually have a blog item and a couple of poems in the works. Plus there’s the list of dream projects I have started, either in reality or in my head–enough to last me years: my father’s journal from his time in India, which I want to scan and combine with the photo album (now residing with my niece) that I intend to borrow back to scan the photos; a couple of poetry chapbooks, including one of dream poems; a children’s book, “Granny’s Happy Coat,” for which I have written the story but need to do illustrations; a cookbook of my favorite recipes (for what purpose I’m not sure, since my daughters aren’t much into cooking–maybe my grandchildren will like it some day); the aforementioned painting, plus drawings in various media (pencil, oil pastel, soft pastel, water color pencil, ink, charcoal); and my longtime goal of acquiring and learning to use a digital SLR camera. Oh, and learning French. Finishing some knitting and needlework projects…. Gone for now is my desire to do freelance writing, editing and design, although if I ever needed the income that’s what I would do.
Lying there thinking about what prevents me from getting this done, I realized it was right beside me, snoring softly. This is my life’s work, at least for now. It was Saturday night and Chloe sleeps with me (while Gary goes upstairs to the guest room) in order for us to take her to church on Sunday morning, where we hope she learns our Unitarian Universalist values in a loving community.
I don’t think I was nearly so aware, raising my own children, of the value of the time spent with them. I did try to provide enrichment with my kids, getting out in nature, doing art, cooking and sewing and being involved in 4-H and scouts when they were interested. But being a grandparent is a fresh opportunity, and I have been given a gift to help shape this beautiful, bright little girl’s future. Yes, she is also willful, contrary and sometimes unbearable, but stubborn and willful can translate to tenacious and tough in an adult.*
I took her to the Austin Mini Maker Faire Sunday. I was exhausted after church, with noisy bands and crowds, and she was the one propelling the bicycle-driven merry-go-round. I don’t know what I was thinking getting her that alien, but at least the cost went as a donation to the Austin Planetarium project. However, I didn’t go for me, and I hope it’s another good memory for her. The other projects wait until the days when Chloe is grown and no longer wants to spend much time with her Gramma.
* In case you’re wondering, yes, I do have two grandchildren. My grandson, Bryan, turns 10 next week. He’s a great kid, incredibly bright and fun, but because of a combination of his age and interests, geography and family dynamics, I see him less often than Chloe. I hope to get the two kids together for some outings and trips during summer break. Chloe adores Bryan as though he were a big brother.