“The next person who drags me away from this room is going to bear the brunt of my very focused wrath!”
Such was my warning to all in my household after the holidays had let a thick layer of dust gather on my keyboard. My family just chuckled and went about their business. But at least I was allowed an hour or two of uninterrupted writing and illustrating. I had to work on a manuscript, get a blog entry sorted out, do some critiques, prepare a few school presentations, and continue working on an illustration project. Upcoming deadlines felt like someone had thrown a fifty-pound backpack on me. Christmas and New Years had been fun, but it was time to come back down to earth.
Then came the phone call from my mom’s facility.
“Your mom has bumped her leg!”
Now, you must understand, my mom is 96 and no injury is a simple thing anymore. What started out as a blood blister the size of a toonie, soon became a major hematoma. All plans for the week were cast away in a split second. After many doctor’s visits and trips to Emergency at the hospital, we now had a huge ulcer on her leg that required constant attention. Once again, my keyboard was gathering dust.
When my kids were small, I denied myself most artistic and creative endeavors because I knew my personality. When I allowed myself to get into something creative, I was like a kid with a video game, a seagull with someone’s lunch: I did NOT want to let go! So consequently, to be the best parent/taxi-cab I could be, I waited until the kids were out of school and finished with organized sports before I pursued my creative outlets.
But now with an aging parent, I am back into the same role I had as a parent of younger children. Only now, my darling little mom (who was and still is my hero) has memory and health issues that need constant supervision.
God has given me creative gifts, but he has also put people in my life that he expects me to care for. And even though at times I have to be pulled away from my work to care for them, God is all about relationships too. And I never want to regret not spending as much time as I could with those I love. Of course there are times I must meet deadlines, but if I’m really honest (and organized), I do have time to look after my mom.
And I usually benefit just as much as those I’m caring for. Often my loved ones sneak into my stories, and my illustrations. It’s no surprise after raising two boys that I’m comfortable writing in the voice of a young male. And my mom’s sayings and witticisms have wiggled into my older characters’ dialogue.
My creativity is like a pot of soup that I have to put on a back burner every now and then, but during life’s sidetracks, the soup is being flavored with each relationship and struggle. So each time I come back to being creative, I am slightly different than I was before, but better.
Yes, I still get frustrated when I have to once again shove the pot on to the back burner, but seriously, how can you resist spending time with fun people? In case you’re wondering, my mom’s a beach babe and I’m the star in Hungry Games.
So, how do you manage when you are hauled away from your creative projects?