You Gotta Have Soul.



I often fantasize about spending hour after hour stowed away in my little studio, playing with paper, yarn, words. 

I keep the door to my studio shut when the children are home.  I prize having a space that I can keep just so, where little hands can't rearrange or decorate unless I've given the go ahead.  The walls remain pristine, save the one framed spot where both kids imprinted their hands while helping Tim create the walls in my cherished, sacred space.  

Two little sets of fingers and palms, pressed in.  

There for good.  

Thank goodness, there for good. 


Before I had babies I knew exactly what kind of mother I'd be: nurturing, gardening, food-storing, cloth-diapering, knitting, home-cooking, blissing.  Endlessly patient.  Calm.  Serene. 

Blessedly, some of these things have actually happened.

And yet I struggle with feelings of inadequacy when, for example, reading posts from Amanda Soule of SouleMama.   

I want my life to feel how hers looks: on purpose.

Last year, after deciding to embrace dear SouleMama instead of mocking (due to insecurity, of course) her dedication to her dream, I purchased all of her books, which have been sitting pretty on a high-up book shelf in my studio, largely untouched. 

Last weekend, after re-purposing our playroom into a projectroom for all (above), I tugged the stack of books from the shelf and displayed them on a side table for perusing.  The children and I have taken turns flipping through the slick pages, looking for inspiration.

And then this morning, I sat and started to really read her words.  What jumped at me, while reading the introduction to The Creative Family , was the (now, seemingly obvious) notion of creating alongside one's children, of making the very life we daily lead into an excuse for creation and expression.

I'm embarrassed by how lightbulb! it felt when I read this:  "Being creative (in whatever capacity) is important: important to me, because I feel myself to be a more complete person when my creativity is expressed; important to my children, who witness adults growing, sharing, and learning creatively; and important to my family, who grow and connect by creating together.  It is so important to me that my children not only see this creative pursuit and drive in action, but also that we do it together and that they fully know, love, and embrace their own creative selves." (The Creative Family , page 5)

So often, I'll set the children up with a small project and let them work together, heading to the kitchen to wash dishes, check e-mail, or make a phone call.  Rare are the creative moments that involve the three of us, rarer still the ones that include all four of us. 

And so it felt a touch revolutionary to think that I could simply decide to extract some of my cherished supplies from my studio - glue and colorful paper scraps and card stock - and set up a morning collage session in the projectroom.  Which is precisely what I did today, teaching the children about how to use Mama's glue, how they could create whatever they liked as long as they respected the supplies they were using.

Which, of course, they did.  Because that's what happens in these kinds of tales, isn't it. 

Thank you, Osiah. 

Thank you, Isla. 

I'm learning how to be the kind of Mama I always knew I'd be.  

Thank you.