by Kelly, Raising Rebels
I don’t consider myself particularly crafty.
I don’t consider myself very artistically talented.
In fact, I think I’m a bit challenged in those areas.
However, I really enjoy painting, drawing and card-making.
Once upon a time I carved out time to do those things.
Perfectionist that I am, I only occasionally deemed my creations good enough to give away. However, I enjoyed creating them even if they just went in a box or tossed in the trash.
For me it really isn’t so much about the finished product as much as it’s the joy I find in the creating.
Somewhere along the way I stopped.
Sure I’ve done simple crafty things with the kids here and there. I’ve even made a card or two to send out.
However, creating just to create. Creating simply because I enjoy it and want to spend my free time in that way came to a complete halt long ago.
I remember clearly my last 3 projects.
In April 2004, my brother Aaron died and I created a scrapbook of pictures to display at his funeral. It wasn’t fun for obvious reasons. In fact it was really, really hard. However, it was also part of processing my grief and it was something that I felt an overwhelming need to complete. I gave up sleep, pushed aside other things and made the time because I wanted to…had to do it.
In September of that same year, I invited my mother in law and cousin to come over for a time of hanging out and making cards. I was pregnant with Aaron and wanted to have all of my baby announcement cards ready to send out. That was hard too. We had a lot going on, life was busy and I had so many other things to do with that time. Yet, I wanted to do this. I needed it. I needed the break, the chance to just have fun and do something I enjoyed amongst all of the demands that came with parenting young children.
A few months later I started something I’d never done before. A quilt. I do not sew. I do not quilt. I really know nothing of such pursuits. However, I had an idea and it wouldn’t let go of me. In a plastic container in the basement was an assortment of clothing belonging to my brother. I thought: what if I asked family members to make quilt squares with pictures, embroidery, fabric paint messages, etc and then used Aaron’s clothes to make other squares and sewed it all into a quilt? I sent out letters, several family members made quilt squares for me. I cut up many of his shirts for extra squares. I think I even began sewing (with Kev’s help) a few together.
Then I stopped.
It was hard. I didn’t know what I was doing so it was hard technically and I was frustrated.
I was stuck in grief. I didn’t know what I was doing in trying to process all of that so it was hard emotionally.
The quilt pieces still sit in that same plastic tote that I first brought home from New Hampshire after his funeral. I found it the other day when looking for something else.
I’ve had a million reasons.
Some of them just the reality of this life. Juggling all that comes with parenting these children and trying to meet their needs on so many levels. The all consuming years since 2004 where we’ve sought out answers and help in dealing with the ongoing health issues, and other challenges of our kiddos. Unable to keep all the plates spinning I slowly dropping just about all of them one by one.
Some of them just excuses. It’s a pain to get everything out, work a little and then have to put it all back. It’s just not worth the mess. I have so little time and the time I do have I’d rather just read or dink around online and not go through the hassle and clean-up.
Some of them just guilt disguised as valid reasons. If I have free time to do crafting, I should be a good wife and spend it making the house a little cleaner, baking Kev’s cookies instead of spending the money to buy them every week. I should spend that time devoted to researching and trying to help my boys find the supports and tools they need to navigate a world that is often tough for them…
On and on. A million and one reasons that it’s not something that can be part of my life right now.
Until this past week.
I went to the craft store.
I bought supplies.
I came home and let the kids paint. All five of them.
While they painted, I started my own project. I quickly realized that was a mistake and I’d need to wait until they were finished before getting back to it. The point is…I started my own project.
A project just because I wanted to do it.
A baby shower gift for a friend, but really, a gift for myself.
I had forgotten how much I enjoyed it.
I’ve decided that my house will not fall down around me if I let a few things slide for a day or two every now and again.
It’s okay for me to breathe.
It’s okay for me to do something fun “just because”.
Actually, after this week, I think I’ve decided it’s more than okay. It’s necessary.
I’m a happier person, a better wife, a better mom, a better friend when I am taking care of myself. Part of that includes doing things I enjoy. Obviously, we need a healthy balance. Life isn’t all about me and I cannot forsake my calling as wife and mother in the name of self. For far too long though, I’ve let the pendulum go too far in the other direction.
So, after nearly eight years, I’ve decided that it really is worth the mess and the time and the hassle of clean-up because *I* am worth it.
(for those interested, I didn’t do the letters free-hand. I used this tutorial fromAimee Weaver’s blog…except on canvas, rather than wood)
Kelly is married to Kevin, a real life Superman. His cape is a bit faded, but that’s okay because Kelly’s Superwoman cape fell apart long ago. Together they are conquering the world or at least trying to leave their mark on it. She spends her days caring for and homeschooling her 5 little rebels. They are a quirky, challenging, inspiring, amazing bunch of kiddos that happen to have some special needs scattered amongst them (SPD, ASD, Tourette’s syndrome, reflux, inflammatory bowel disease to name a few). She enjoys wearing fuzzy socks, laughing with her husband, drinking mint tea and watching her children sleep. She began the blog www.raisingrebels.blogspot.com as a way to share homeschooling and snippets of life with relatives. Slowly she’s been finding her voice and beginning to share her heart more freely on matters of faith, family, special needs and life in general.
This post was originally published HERE and used with permission.