My morning commute to work should take about 10 minutes; I live two miles from my job. But I have a two-year old, which means getting out of the house each morning is an intensely dramatic experience, filled with endless negotiations. I’ve tried everything to ensure a smooth transition, from coaxing her with lollipops to letting her watch Taylor Swift videos on my cellphone. Yes, I know I’m totally wrapped around her little finger. The only thing that has helped is to take an extensive scenic drive through the city of Manchester on our way to daycare. Our most important drive-by is the Currier Museum of Art.
My daughter is fascinated by the giant, 35-foot orange and black steel sculpture, Origins by Mark di Suvero, which is located in the front of the Museum. She always lets out a little shriek when she sees it, and then informs me that the “Currier is BOOFUL.” Sometimes as a special treat, we get out of the car and dance on the grass near the sculpture, admiring its impressive height from all angles. She informs me, “It’s a K!” and “want to run and tumble!” Looking at the piece through her eyes, with no associations to art theory or art history, is a pretty cool experience and each time reminds me why I fell in love with art in the first place.
Being a mom has reinvigorated my love for so many things I had forgotten about. After I graduated from art school in 2009, I needed a break from art-making. I was depleted, empty, spent. The joy of creating had lost all pleasure for me. I was focused solely on the outcome of my art-making, as opposed to the process. The first time I picked up crayons and started drawing with my daughter—knowing that no one would ever see or grade our scribbles—I was reminded of why I used to love this form of self expression.
If you put a marker in my toddler’s hand, she won’t write neatly on paper or color within the lines, although eventually she will be socialized to do just that. She’s going to draw all over the walls and herself, playing and having fun. I am so jealous of her freedom, and am trying to reawaken the carefree child within me. I sincerely urge you to also listen for the stirrings of your heart and rediscover the simple pleasures that once made you thrive.