Called to Motherhood: Piece 8

Look at what I found...

Each of my children has subtly sculpted me, their mother, into a person who must sometimes forget where they end and I begin.

They have taken my personality edges and with the shorelines of their growth from baby hood to adolescence, mellowed me out to a person who values the sleep in they denied me in their early days.

Through them I re-experience the cinema, the beach, the word and colours of childhood – most of all I’m allowed to play and no-one can look at me strangely because I’m just being a Mum.

We build sand castles at the beach, progress to beach cricket and later fly kites.  I photograph, and am with, my children on the sand.

We wriggle uncomfortably in deck chairs at an old style theatre to watch ridiculous children’s movies.

They’ve made me recall the days I was bullied and think about how I made it through those times and how they can too.  Stones can be turned into feathers and stories can make the load lighter.

They make me laugh sending up their hard times by looking at the lighter moments within potential bleakness.  They are optimists, mostly.

My daughter gathers tiny shells and chicken egg shells for three dimensional collages, my youngest son makes everything into a cricket or hockey stick and my eldest son is glued to a guitar.  Somehow they have each taken a little piece of me and reshaped it into their own.

As they grow we play less for they move into new spaces with new dreams.  From cities, to coastal towns, to living right beside the cane, we journey side by side.  Now, I’m at the sidelines waiting for these fledgling ones to fly like Brahminy kites away into their futures.  I can’t take their flight for them.  But I can and have tried to prepare them.

I trace the outlines of their gifts – drawing, sport, music – and know that somewhere along the line I wanted to become a mother worthy of being in their lives. That somewhere along the line mothering became my centre and from it all else radiated.  Yet, to be in this circle of motherhood, one must embrace other circles, of – friends, being, vocation, futures – to become strong.

They have shaped me into a writer who photographs and writes the poetry of family.  Who knows beyond self, there are others for whom I would sacrifice my life. Virtues are the language of the mother empowered.

We move across the landscapes as I place cameras in their hands and they photograph sunsets scrolling past our moving Four Wheel Drive.

The first memories of being called into motherhood, the first touch of each child’s hand I can enfold in my palm, are never far away.  I see them even when they now have their adolescent days of break away.

They are testing their wings, and shaping me again.  Only this time I will breakaway – to emerge as more than mother and they will be more than my children.

Inspired by the Who Shaped Me project for ABC Open, this month’s  Pearlz Dreaming blog theme will be about the people who inspire me and there are lots of them! Goal 19 pieces on Who Shaped Me.

Eternal Spirit on Mortal Paper

eternal spiritmortalpaper
Eternal Spirit on Mortal Paper – By June Perkins

A house full of sick kids and constant calls for Mum to please by nearby, snatched moments to rest and build energy for another round of vomiting from youngest and a complete ignoring of deadlines – that’s been my week.

Now any dedicated parent will tell you in a house full of illness you need to  take care of everyone and build a road to recovery.  There’s not much else you can do when your kids are sick.  Luckily for us one parent is still flexible enough to be at home when needed, unluckily for us all our extended family live thousands of kilometres away and can only send virtual foot rubs to their grandkids.

I work from home so you’ve probably guessed it’s me that’s been the carer of the week.  This week I have been giving foot rubs, telling stories, saying prayers and tending to tired and ill children.  Now Saturday is here things are looking up, and youngest is able to eat again.  This is such a relief after dealing with him having cramped crab hands, which needed lots of massaging to make normal again.  Poor little mite.

In the midst of this my dear hubby is in marking chaos, and in our very tiny house for five people has taken over the living room with piles of marking.  It is like negotiating a minefield.  I will not touch anything as it’s all just the way he needs it to be.  I dream of a day when the poor man can have an office, and me a studio.  A few weeks ago it was me with art materials everywhere just before my exhibition so really it’s a matter of needing to one day have a bigger space for us.

Last week I went to look after an Exhibition – of the Hinchenbrook Regional Art Prize, that my daughter, son and I had all put work into.  We went to the launch.  My daughter received a highly commended for her guinea pig painting, complete with collaged straw.  It was titled ‘All Together 1.’  She explained to me that she paints and draws the pets all together, as it brings her happiness, even the ones that are gone, get painted with the living ones so that their memory lives on.  She painted a bird picture with both our alive birds and our lost quails and also entered it too.

I took some photographs of the artists with their works.  It was a vibrant exhibition, with hints of memories of the looming cyclone in the clouds and a few broken trees but also green horses,  birds made by geometic shapes, moons over mountains and people -including the snake catcher Les, captured on canvas.  There were sculptures of cassowaries, and dear little pots with feathers, photographs of rocks, culture and natures, abstract paintings of cane burning, a coach without horses, and my dragonfly as well.

Now weeks like this are hard to set goals in, as you are driven from moment to moment by the needs of the family and they have to be the priority, so instead when I have a moment to myself I’ve been doing some digital play with my photographs and remembering Nell Arnold, whose funeral is this weekend.  During this week a few pieces on mortality and eternity have come into being in my arty breaks from the caring for kids.

Nell was such a mentor with my digital art photography and it was startling to hear of her sudden passing, although I knew she had not been well for a while.  I wonder if she can see these works from wherever she is in the next worlds beyond this one.

I wonder what Nell would say to me right now about setting goals for the future.  She would probably say believe in your work, move forward and realize you can do anything you set your mind to, and then she would send me some emails of people to get in touch with and make some practical suggestions.  Her emails are very precious and yet I never met her in person.  I would have loved to tell her about my daughter and the art entry as she mentored her with creativity as well.

I think of Nell especially today, but have two other friends who are farewelling brothers at funerals this weekend.  I know this feeling too, having been to my brother’s funeral when he was only young.

Life is short, and there is little time to write the eternal spirit on mortal paper.  It is probably little wonder that this week I created several art pieces all to do with the fleeting nature of life, words, stories, and belongings.

(c) June Perkins, all rights, reserved.