Ahhhhhh, it’s Sunday afternoon, and I don’t have to drive down to Santa Barbara to pick up Maycee because it’s “my” weekend. I love Sunday afternoons. I typically have completed whatever tasks I set out to accomplish over the two days off, and if I haven’t, well, I just don’t care. It’s been a long week. Every week is a long week. I can’t remember not having a long week in many, many years, ha!
This weekend my mom and step-dad came up for a visit. I love it when they come, as I get incredibly home sick for my family and friends after many months pass without seeing them. I’m grateful that I don’t live too far away to get these impromptu visits, as then I can look forward to them, and also rest assured that at least it is only months that pass and not years. During the course of the five days prior I managed to fit in many extra hours of chores intermingled with making dinner, reviewing homework, and the regular evening routine each night after getting home from work and school, crashing into bed around the 11 o’clock hour, exhausted and left wondering…How and Why do I do this? I just do. And, because I’m a total Type A personality, heaven forbid I would not trim the bushes in my front yard, cut the grass in the backyard (and edge it), pick the weeds growing along the walkway, vacuum the carpets, clean the linoleum, sanitize the bathrooms, wash the linens and put all fresh ones out, make sure no dishes were in the sink upon my folks’ arrival, and oops, didn’t get to the fish tank-DARNIT! Hmmmmm, let me remind myself (and you, if you are like me) my folks do not care about any of this. Nope. They are coming up to visit me and Maycee, not my freshly trimmed bushes! Again, How and Why do I do this? I just do. Regardless, we had a fabulously fun visit and…cupcakes. Yum!
Sparkling? Naaah, it's the light.
So, due to my need to have every little detail perfect in the Yellow Submarine, I neglected to write last week’s post. Aghhhh! Alert the masses! Nooooooooooooo! Here’s at least part of what I intended to tell you all:
Life has settled down for this SWM (Repeat after me: This really can and will happen. This really can and will happen. This really can and…okay…you get it), and I feel it’s important to share the rainbows just as much, if not more, as it is to share the struggles. I know many women who are and/or were single moms. The closest people to me are part of this category. Most of us face the same issues: financial difficulties (even with child support), ex-spouse mania, discipline problems (for our kids and for ourselves), time management troubles, childcare worries, and plain and simple can’ttakeonemorethinghappeningtome-isms. We fight the inner turmoil of finding “me” time mixed with knowing that “them” time is more important than anything else. We spend hours wondering when we will get into a groove, when the tension will ease, when will life seem “normal”-whatever that means. I’m getting a glimpse…and I want to pass it on…
Last weekend there was a bizarre, out-of-nowhere thunderstorm that hit the Central Coast. It came during Friday night and didn’t just pass by, it hit hard, rain that made a dent and not a faint drizzle. Saturday morning I was all geared up to go to the local Italian Street Painting Festival. It was my second year attending as a street painter, and this year I was going it alone-no Maycee-so I intended to work my a.s.s. off on the painting and show what I was made of (put my art degree to the test, since everyone wonders why a person gets an art degree with an emphasis in abstract painting). I was going to be working a larger square than last year, too, 7′ by 7′, and for a different company than my own, so I wanted to be sure it turned out well. I decided to draw a portrait of Maycee–for many reasons. Number one: she couldn’t attend with me this year since it was her dad’s weekend. Number two: I love doing portraits. Number three: if you focus on a subject you are passionate about, your best work will present itself. I awoke to the pitter patter of rain Saturday morning and thought: UH-OH, IS MY ENTIRE DAY SHOT? Will the show go on? Are the streets too wet? What if it keeps raining?
- Wet streets…not a problem!
I stayed in bed longer than had the sun been shining, almost until 8:30, waiting to see about Mother Nature’s mood. Around 11:00 I decided to make a go of it, drive up the coast, hit the Mission, and see if other artists were working. The rain has ceased for now, the clouds were breaking up, and streets were drying out. For certain people wouldn’t give up and the downtown plaza would fill with colors as vibrant as a field of poppies. I meandered onto the scene at 11:45, and I was right. The other artists were there, all of them, amidst the dampness, many–like me–having decided to wait awhile before arriving. The afternoon was marvelous as I staked out my spot and began frantically sketching my masterpiece, Maycee right by my side, albeit via picture frame. As the hours passed tourists, locals, and other artists scoped out my work, and I found myself completely lost in the street, the colors, my canvas. From last year I picked up some tricks of the trade, as working on pavement is not an easy task–and with only a couple of snack breaks and chit-chats with intrigued onlookers, I put in a total of five hours of painting.
Maycee’s little baby cheeks, her bonnet, her peaceful demeanor brought to life what typically is a thoroughfare for vehicles. All ages related to the painting from toddlers to seniors, the comment of the day exclaiming, “Awwwwwe, look at the baby!” I felt a sense of pride well up from deep within as I spent my afternoon immersed in creation. Only a few sprinkles fell and nothing so much as to erase the beauty of hundreds of busy fingers, while the thunderheads passed above, only contemplating the night’s next storm. I made it out of the Mission with my own mission accomplished. I didn’t care whether or not all of my hard work would be washed away later. I didn’t mind at all; every stroke of color, every line drawn, every single minute was worth it.
Making progress, always.
I drove home that evening feeling complete. I love metaphors. Don’t you? I’ve written about them before; I never tire of noticing their appearance. Three years ago a storm passed through my life that seemed as if it might destroy everything, and perhaps it did for a while. Thunderheads continued to loom in the sky month after month, raindrops falling and washing away any bit of color I’d manage to paint, and then I’d be back at the canvas working again. It took each and every stroke of the brush to create the picture that is now my life. Today. My life TODAY. And, even though I know that a new storm is brewing at any moment, just having experienced the calm before it hits with some frequency, feeling whole for a space in time, I’m finding that I actually believe it may have been worth it. Surviving storms is necessary. My afternoon of Italian Street Painting last weekend wasn’t shot. The rain was only a deterrent, not a road block. The sunshine was only hiding, not completely gone.
Fitting in chores to appease my Type-A-Ness, running six to ten different tasks at once, wondering how I’m going to handle certain circumstances on my own as Maycee grows up, these things are not going to subside. But, remember, they aren’t going to keep me down either, nor do they define who I am. Life will work itself out , no matter if it is for the weekend or after a long period of thunderstorms. And, when it does, I want to be aware enough to recognize it. I want to see the metaphors, smile, and count my blessings.
Year number one, and we had fun!
Next year, if it rains again for the Italian Street Painting Festival, I’ll know what to expect, and I’ll be ready. Think about it…I’LL KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT. And, now that Sunday afternoon is over [I took a break from my earlier writing to let Maycee visit American Girl.com whilst I attempted carpentry and managed to nail not just the playhouse roof but my finger, as well], Maycee is tucked away under her polka-dotted covers, and I’ve relieved myself of bursting open from lack of blog posting, I can safely retreat to my own little bed.
Good night, Readers…and as always be happy….ahh, yes…and give a chuckle.