The Real Thing
When I found out I was pregnant at 42 I was absolutely terrified and spent the first six months on the couch in a heap of anxiety. As far as I was concerned I already had a kid, actually a very high maintenance one. All my energy had been up to that point in constant service to being an artist and it demanded it. All my time was spent either making art or in one form or another of self-absorption and expression, the healthy kind. Long meditations in the morning, journaling, workshops, hundreds of African dance classes, yoga, long phone chats and dinners with the inspiring geniuses that are my friends – whenever I felt like it. When I’d see the moms on the streets (even the hip ones) with the strollers and the sippy cups and crap hanging off them I would actually feel an unbearable weight. Hell no, I can’t do that.
So here we are five years later. Obviously things have changed. I still have the very high maintenance and somewhat special needs first child who I would give anything or do anything for. And I have the panics now and again that I’m not able to give “her” all the time and attention I used to when it was just “us”. But I reassure myself,” the foundation is strong, what came before is capable of carrying it all forward. The attention you’re giving now is more about refining, directing and expanding on what has already been planted. “She” is fine, you are fine, shut up.”
Praise is named after a beautiful pink rubber stamp print by one of my favorite artists Agnes Martin. “Praise” was one of the first gifts I gave to Peter when we started dating. I looked up at that print on the wall the day I found out I was having a girl and decided to call her that. In a way I now think I was asking the Universe for the strength and ability I perceived myself as lacking. Agnes Martin was a brilliant recluse and her work resonates with the clarity and purity of that kind of silence. She was all that I was afraid of letting go of, the aspect of my life that was able to be thoroughly devoted to art and spirituality without distractions or demands from anything or anyone.
The thing is though when I go deeper I realize that I want it all, that I actually want the challenges that require me to leave my comfort zones. I realize that my work really is about layers, abundance, balance and expansion, and about the process of coming back to the quiet center for nourishment and stability. I love the contrast of all that so my life and art is going to reflect that.
Praise is about as spirited and exuberant and as a child can be. There is rarely a time when she is not singing or dancing or talking or asking for something. So perfect right? That kid who sits quietly and listens and has patience is not mine and that’s fine with me. I was never that kid either so I know how to love and guide her. I get to give her everything that she needs to be able to create and be productive and appreciated for who she is in the world. We’ll see how it goes but so far so good. She is thriving, happy and loving for the most part. As much as I can totally accept and appreciate her incredible eccentricities I hope she appreciates mine. Watching her immerse herself in all that plastic-y princess hideousness tells me that when it’s time she’s going to get the real thing, the Goddess. I loved it all too as a little girl so I’m not worried. My hope is that growing up alongside my “girls”; the drawings, and the imagery that inspires them she gets the message – that we are made of everything that shimmers and glimmers and gives life to this world.
So here is my birthday card to Praise. Happy birthday little lady…