I’ve talked about children being our masterpieces before. They are our most precious creations. They are living, breathing works of art that we strive to shape into the best versions of themselves that they can be. Of course, they wind up doing most of the work on their own. Like the best artistic endeavors–they lead us more than we lead them, but they always start out needing our guidance. If we weren’t there–if we didn’t take action– our children–artistic and otherwise–would never be born and they certainly wouldn’t survive infancy.
I was already convinced of the artistic beauty and power of raising children when we just had our daughter, but now we have a son too. Two children. Two masterpieces. But wait–how can I develop two foremost works of art at the same time?
I never doubted that my heart would expand to love my second born child as much as my first, but I did fear that my daughter would feel displaced by the arrival of her little sibling. Would I be able to give her enough attention when the new baby came on the scene? Would she suffer when I had to split my focus? Would I be able to handle the responsibility and the strain of being tugged in two directions?
I’ve found myself battling the same concerns in my artistic life. I have stalled writing my novel. I still intend to write it. I still think it’s important and worth writing. I’m just struggling to give it the attention it deserves. I think I psyched myself out by setting the goal of completing a rough draft by the time my second baby was born. That was a bit of a stretch to begin with. On top of that, I’ve rekindled another passion of mine–creating mystery games for parties.
I think I managed to convince myself that I couldn’t love writing my novel and mystery games at the same time–that I wasn’t enough of an artist to handle having two passions vying for my attention. As a result, I didn’t really focus on either project, leaving me artistically unfulfilled and frustrated and about to welcome a new child into our lives.
Then Baby #2 arrived. Two weeks earlier than expected. And my maternal artistic life shifted dramatically in the most beautiful and wild way. I have a daughter and a son. Two masterpieces that I am simultaneously in love with and terrified of ruining. And it is so clear that they are both meant to be in my life. As overwhelming as it is, they are two masterpieces in process that I was meant to help create. Who am I to say that I can’t or shouldn’t do the same with my other creative babies? I can’t and shouldn’t abandon them any more than I could one of my children. Yes, one might take up more time and attention than the other for a while, but the creative process ebbs and flows in deliciously unpredictable stages. There is space for it all.
My creative cup runneth over. It might seem like the parts of my life that spill through my fingers are lost forever, but water has a way evaporating, only to return in a rain storm not far down the road. I’ll be drenched in the good stuff again, even if I can’t soak it all up or splash in the puddles to my heart’s content right now. The overflow is a blessing. And my vessel is bigger than I think it is.