a liberal allowance of time

Two weeks ago my daughter started kindergarten, marking the first time in five years that she's been away all day. And the first time in five years that I've been away from her for that amount of time. To say it was a shock is an understatement. We both dreaded it - and looked forward to it - in the long summer days leading up to it, and we both cried the day of, realizing that it was a whole new chapter for both of us. More independence. More definition between mother and daughter. It wasn't really as dramatic as it sounds... I mean, it's just kindergarten. But it also was.

Since her birth I've gotten really efficient at doing my work in short time frames (as you must when you're a stay at home mom who illustrates). So that first day I wrapped up all my work, sent it off to my clients, and then sat there wondering what to do next. I picked up the house. I prepped for our dinner meal. And then I found myself on the floor -- literally lying on the floor just waiting until she came home.

Not a bad place to be, really... the floor. It's very solid. And the floor graciously gives you time to think and breathe. And I thought about my life pre-Veda… how I worked almost non-stop, always in the studio, always pushing hard to create. And I realized that that was great and necessary then, but I didn't want to just assume that lifestyle again right away. I've diversified my interests in the last five years - Thai bodywork, gardening, cooking, being, etc - and I'm happier for it. But still, what to do now with all this time on my hands?

And then it occurred to me that I didn't have to decide right now. I don't need to prove myself to anyone or be seen as ambitious or be praised as a go-getter. I can ease into this time gently and navigate patiently. I'm in the fortunate position of being able to just wait and see what happens. Watch what surfaces naturally.

And as these things go, I stumbled across a quote that basically said the right thing at the right time:

"The finest workers in stone are not copper or steel tools, but the gentle touches of air and water working at their leisure with a liberal allowance of time." ~ Henry David Thoreau

And something surfaced. An idea for a personal piece of art. Now, I haven't done any art for myself since I was pregnant with Veda. I did lots of art with her and lots of client art, but nothing just because, for myself. So I really didn't believe it when I read that quote and felt compelled to make it visual. But I proceeded.

And below is that piece. The woman lying as a stone in a riverbed. Allowing the water and air to shape her at their leisure… No pushing. No tools. No added effort. I've titled it "a liberal allowance of time".

And I like it because it marks where I am right now.

penelopedullaghan_liberalallowanceoftime