I was convinced by a lighting bug to stay in New York. Holding my new baby in my arms at his grandparents home, summer, I saw a lightning bug. I announced how it had been awhile since I was a child and saw and chased a bug like that...hmm maybe this is why I am here to connect the threads of my childhood loves to my new child. Coming from the West coast after a decade of living in sun shine and oceans and long time friends we left to come to the east coast to be near the the family of my spouse. What was here for me? I thought I was from neither the west or east coast I was from the Mid-West, some secret place noone thinks to visit. On the west coast we don't have lighting and we don't have lighting bugs, but in the mid-west there are plenty. Here on a hot sweaty day of late June there they were sparkling, like little electrical fairies. I took a breath and said I remember...placing a lighting bug in a jar and wondering around the yard admiring the creature. I wanted that connection, that experience to be part of my child's life too...so I stayed in New York.
I wonder if there were no special bugs, maybe I would have gone back to the west coast I missed my friends so, and having this new baby I needed some companionship, cause as much as I loved hearing my new baby breathe I wanted hear my familor conversations of friends too. Gone. Yes I could have called them but now I was here and calling back in the early 2000 was expensive. It was like a viking funeral. I had to start all over. Which I am used to moving and making new friends, my mother married a traveling saleman and we traveled. If we stayed at a school more than a year that was good. Cause now I am here the child is grown and travelling to Europe and a good friend of ten years just moved away. I am wondering why am I here? Should I move on and I say No, because these people that are here remember me when I was younger two decades ago and my children. I don't have any relatives here and I need my friends. Sometimes it feels like part of my anatomy to see the town change as I also age and remember what it use to be. Somehow I keep coming back to this one town. Through almost two divorces cause I am not divorced yet, I am back in this town. My children's other parent got the bigger homes, closer to stores and all the friends I made there. However I would not trade it, as my mother use to say big Fish in a small Pond. I am making connections here that should carry me on through the next half a century. I am planning to live long. It has been sad seeing my oldest grow up moving out soon to go to college. I am trying to navigate these strong rush of emotions and feelings and I do want to feel them. A true Masterpiece is the child. Grown with jokes, tickles and laughter and long nights of staying up late. The blood of all of me, my time, my energy, my blood.
It was hard for us because it was just him and I after I left his other parent. The other parent got a big house they were working on, a car, and the cat we brought from California. Gato after Gato Barbieri, yes my ex is was a Jazz musician. The cat passed away when my oldest was ten or eleven. The loss of Gato broke his heart they were buddies like brothers since Gato was a kitten and he was old enough to sit up. I moved into the basement of a house, it was always warm because it was next to the boiler room. It had a room and just enough room near a small kitchen area for a table, in that place I laid on the floor and my son got the room. His room was smoothered with stuff animals and fish. We had so many tanks of fish and a hamster, named Perry, I remember him holding Perry by the tail. I did get some child support, but the rest I had to earn from working. I worked at a Gallery on weekends so that my child would be with his other parent and during the week I tried to run my own business teaching toddlers the fun of painting.
I started this class after seeing a music together class I took my son too. I could not afford this class but saw what I could do to make it for Art for toddlers. Hmmm I wondered how do I put this MFA to use, since I was making no headways of my dream to teach on the university level, maybe I will teach little people. It was a success for awhile, but I was not getting rich doing it, my Mini Modern Artists Class, was going to fail because I could not afford the rent to keep my classes. I tried and I even borrowed a car to go teach a city an hour away toting my boy with me as I taught my mini modern artists class for now thirty an hour plus teaching pre-teens how to draw and paint. It was hard and after a semester I just could not keep doing this, I had to find a way to make money closer to home or move to this city. I chose to stay.
Choosing to stay I made my third mistake another relationship. I went hard in a different kind of love that I wonder where?like the lighting bugs, I might have accomplished without finding this person. However this person had a friend who found me a job as a landscapist, a private landscaper, loving the outdoors I was sold. This job was now one of my three jobs that supported us. The gallery, the garden, and my mini modern artists (along with trying to paint and draw and enter shows) The garden was a place I took my oldest and I would pull weeds and he would draw the tall ferns on his etch a sketch. It was quiet and we could be together. I always tried to find work that would harbor my children for I never knew if their other parents would take that high throne. Parenting is hard it should be noted when you take that position it is like being crowned a kingdom. The territory you are over is of the mind and spirit and you need plenty of assistance. The Kingdom I had was incrediable and soon the seat would be given to the child to hold their own crown over their on kingdom. The other parent never got how special this was to see the beauty, how special this clock ticks but the ticking is the sound of a heart beat. I never got to be the Martha Steward mom always at home, we just made our home where we were. I would bring lunch and we would sit and eat lunch together wherever I worked. I still can make one soda can last for three people and a small bag of chips like Mary poppins' special bag never ending. Soon another baby was strapped to my back and she too got to smell the flowers in the garden and learn to sit under a fern. It seemed like it was better I could make this thing work where you have two parents and children. Except why was I doing all the work? Still cleaning the home, still feeding the babies, still working to pay the rent, the two jobs I kept were the Gallery and the garden plus cleaning the gallery. Vacuuming with a baby on the front of you is hard. Why couldn't the baby have hung out with the other parent? The garden job was soon gone as the widow had passed away. The gallery was sold. I was home, but it was not pleasant being home with a person who was making me depressed. Then we were moving and I got more depressed and scared moving is such hard work and I broke out with hives.
Moving away I was right my feelings were right. I had left this new other parent for almost a week and I should have stayed away for good, they encouraged me on saying they would go to counseling and fix their problems but they never did. After we moved it was years before we even started marriage counseling. In those sessions I started to realize the therapist was seeing more their side. I knew I did not have a chance. I didn't want to move from our old town. Now I found it hard to leave because I had my oldest, and two new younger ones. I kept doing my art and sometimes getting a local show or at a cafe. I kept painting and helping out at our local library doing crafts with children for cash and my weekly paid job of teaching art at the town we left library. I could not really tell what the other parent was doing they always had a hard time just watching their own children so I could go out and work. I knew I had to move again. I hate moving. I moved right back where it all started. Now I have a smaller place again,but like those bags of chips it seems their is endless amounts of room when their is love. I told my oldest we are like a swarm of bees all moving where the other one moves if one goes upstairs we all end up on the bed hanging out. If one of us goes to the kitchen to get a piece of toast it is suddenly the new disco hangout. We just all love each other so much. Now that we are away from my old relationships and their other parents we relax and have fun. I am still trying hard to make a living through selling my art and making art. I started to do workshops for adults and continue to find a means of being who I truly am and raising my children by my beliefs of being an entreprenour. They are strong brave souls like me and I love watching them soar. Yet I still wonder who I would have been if only I did not let life capture me, maybe I could have been somebody...Marlyn Brando...as my ex once said. I am somebody. I am a mother, a parent, and artist going back is not going to be who I have become. It is so hard sometimes. I see the parents who are together and I respect them and love knowing that is possible, but I also know I don't see everything. I can only be under my roof. I can only make my children respect everybody. I can only love them. I can only love myself.
Yesterday I ,saw on the second of July, bright yellow lights shimming under the trees. Lighting Bugs I said..so magically what did people think of them before electricity. I am still enamored by them..maybe decided to stay here for me, my inner self, my inner child was reaching out back then saying Stay Here for reasons I did not know. I am finding some of these reasons and one of them is maybe you reading my blog.