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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Conflicting Feelings

Since the start of school, the only "creative" thing I have done is finish a project commissioned for a show and delivered it. All other calls for entry have gone ignored for now. I have not given up on my art however, as I renovate (actually hubby is doing most of the work) what will be my studio; fashioned out of my older son's room, which he inhabits barely 2 weeks out of the year.

I decided to take that room for my own when I realized this wonderful space, in a home where space is at a premium, went unused the majority of the year. My son is so enmeshed in Boston where he goes to school, that he rarely comes home, even during breaks. He has 3 jobs, lots of friends and has built a nice life for himself there. And since I love Boston, it is a good excuse for me to see him there.

In spite of his absence at home, I didn't claim his room for a long time, feeling it was disloyal, or that he would think I didn't want him to come home. This was not of course the case, so the room stayed empty, silently collecting dust. I hinted at him cleaning out all the garbage that had been collecting - that he never got to do before he went to college, but he resisted and I didn't push.

Little by little, I began using the room, moving some things in, moving some out, packing obviously unneeded things into accessible boxes, but making room for my art things. When he did come home, I moved the work table out of his way, but I imagine he felt he was intruding. I never want him to feel this way - so herein lies the conflict.

One side of me thinks it is a shameful waste of good space that could be used all year long - yet it is my son's room - a place he can come "home" to, that has a sacred quality to it.

He is graduating college in May. Like so many of his peers, he is uncertain what the future holds. It would have been a given, in different times, that he would graduate college, get a job and start his life independent of his family. These days, it is not a given and young people fear for their futures, as do their parents. Not wanting to add to that stress, I want a place for him to come home to, if he does not land in a job that can support him right away.

Ah, but the empty room beckons and so badly needed a paint job anyway.

I thought long and hard how to marry the two conflicting needs; both my son's and my own. The room is nearly finished being painted. Measurements have been taken and parts have been ordered. There will be a great, large work table above his queen-sized bed, that breaks down to expose the bed for his visits. His junk, I mean "important souvenirs" have been packed and placed in the closet and the attic. His dress clothes live with my husband's in his closet; the rest he has with him now. Should they need to come home (along with him), we will make room. The space in the house is finite, but manipulatable. The room in my heart is boundless, especially when it comes to my son.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Spending Time

It’s been awhile since having a “normal” routine, dictated by an employer. How is it I can be so busy and not be working 45 hours a week too? Have you ever heard the expression, “Ask a busy person and it will get it done.”?  It must be true and I am one of those people.

Now my days are spent going to school, studying and working on one volunteer community project, and soon to start another. School takes up 2 full days per week, and homework another 2 to 2 ½ days. I guess that doesn’t leave a lot to time to lounge around.  I am cooking healthier food, which takes more time to plan and prepare. I am coordinating a community project involving 6 leaders and what will be 15 youth. And I am planning to conduct a community workshop at our senior center starting in late April. So, my days are full, and fruitful. I sleep well knowing I am doing good, and keeping my brain active.

I am happier and more content. Does it mean I have given up income for health? I suppose so, but I feel richer indeed. Priorities change, life throws curveballs, yet we endure. We grow, we evolve into better people, if only we pay attention to what is sent our way.

Take today’s lemon and make lemonade. If you are thrown a tomato, you can make sauce or a bloody Mary, but the choice is yours.  What will you do with today’s proverbial lemon?