It’s Saturday evening and I am sat in my childhood bedroom staring at a selection of small square canvases. The plan was to paint for three hours and finish them, ready to go up on the wall. I painted for two then got fed up with the bad lighting and gunky, solidifying paint. (They’ve done well but sadly the old tester pots I am using are no longer fit for purpose.)
I made the eleven minute drive over to my parents, not only to deliver Dad his newspaper, but for some solitude. I wanted to paint alone, uninterrupted by the constant activity of our boisterous sixteen month old. The week has felt long and I had begun making not so subtle hints to my partner that I desperately needed a break from the relentlessness of parenting our toddler.
“I will have him all weekend, do whatever you want.” Was the message that got me through Thursday afternoon, when I’d gone from “shouty Mum” and right into the more dangerously apathetic: “I don’t care anymore just watch all the TV and eat all your pudding before your entirely beige dinner”.
My parents house has become a sort of sweet escape for me, a sanctuary. I come here alone very rarely, but when I do, I’ll mostly retreat to my old bedroom to write or paint. The time alone is sacred and always flies, but it’s often enough to make me feel like me again. Not solely a mother running around after a toddler or putting on yet another load of laundry. But a creative. A person with a multitude of interests. A dreamer.
I think of it as “filling up my cup”. The old “put your own oxygen mask on first, before anyone else, so you can help others..”. It’s true, and I embrace it.
Clearing my old desk to make room for all my paints, I feel that rush of excitement one feels when they’re about to embark on some new creative project. I adore that feeling. (Before you’re knee deep and all the self-doubt and headaches kick in..).
Today I danced in my bedroom, did my morning pages (The Artist’s Way), popped into town alone and painted. I came home refreshed. I could breathe again. I greeted Leo as if I hadn’t seen him in days. It was only a few hours but it felt like a true gift. The gift of time out.