At this point, if I manage to even make it to my own art reception I will consider it a huge accomplishment. Almost every time I have an art show scheduled, there is some sort of family catastrophe the week before. When my son was three years old, he broke his arm just days before a huge event. Last week, everyone in my family except for my husband was in quarantine due to a seriously contagious illness we contracted from my daughter’s pre-kindergarten class.
Organizing and preparing for an art exhibition is challenging in and of itself; add the demands of motherhood into the mix and the goal reaches astronomical proportions. Not only do I need to manage the details for the actual event itself, but I must also now arrange for the care of our children.
I suppose some might assume that we could just as easily find sitters for our children during the hours of the exhibition, and on occasion we will—depending on the venue, time of the event and our budget. However, we also believe it’s important for our children to be present and included in what we are doing, if possible.
I desire this to be a family investment. Yet, I also realize the need for realistic expectations. Our children are small; they’re not adults. Their interest and stamina for art-gazing is minimal. With this in mind, I try to make accommodations for them by packing a bag of things to keep them occupied and arrange for friends to help keep them engaged, should my husband and I be occupied. But our children are a part of the whole story, often the very inspiration to my creating. Their presence makes it all the more richly complete, even if a bit a more chaotic.
Involving them makes the event less about me, and our presence as a family speaks a greater testimony. Having them around keeps me humble and encourages me to let things go, rather than try to control them. It saves me from taking myself too seriously and leaves me grateful for even small accomplishments. And, it provides personal encouragement when I see my daughter shadowing me and my seven-year-old son passing out his mom’s business card on his own accord.
But our children are a part of the whole story, often the very inspiration to my creating.
I want to live out my calling in front of my kids, not behind the locked door of a studio. By allowing them to witness the process from beginning to end, challenges included, I hope they will be enriched and inspired to follow their own unique passions in spite of hardship.
I feel blessed to have the opportunity to pursue my passion while also having the gift of a family. I am determined that being a practicing artist and a present parent can co-exist. So I will indeed make it to this art show and those yet to come!