Test for Done: Care for Your Creative During Turbulent Times

baby bathtubs turned in to a planter in the AlpsI use the word done to imply completeness, a yearned for conclusion, the act of bringing a task or responsibility to an end having executed the work to a certain level of satisfaction. Done has many common uses today. What echoes in my head this morning is, “Are we done yet?” which relates to cries from the back seat of the car by short humans, “Are we there yet?” or “How many more miles?”

It does not relate to anything having to do with sex or drugs, nor for that matter, rock and roll.
It has to do with motherhood.

As in, a job that is never, ever done.

parenting is a job that is never done

My children, who nearly count as adults, they both and do vote; they mostly do their own laundry, and share a car. They do not however pay their own health insurance or tuition, or dental bills, so for the purpose of this writing, I will call them emerging adults. I learned this phrase from Alison Sher a few years ago.

My emerging adults have reminded me heartily and at times brusquely that my job with them is not yet done, while my job is also very done. There are aspects of their lives and beings that are complete, I have had all the influence I could hope to have on their early education and hygiene skills. I have taught them to navigate many parts of being human, street crossings, the bulk section of the grocery store, and bathrooms in foreign lands. We are in to deeper waters now, heartbreak, Masters degrees, and solo hiking trips.

Over the past weeks I have worked with my friend and colleague Katey Schultz on my manuscript of Laundry Line Divine. This book is in the heat of creative process, not at all baked, but with most of the right ingredients lined up on the counter and ready to be mixed in. After Katey’s review of my work, I know there are a few missing ingredients, things I need to ponder and write in to. This book is not done yet, not at all. Nor am I with it.

How about you? What are you done with?

I am done with self-doubt.

I am done with worry weight.

I am done with the persistent gray, wet, cold weather in the Northeast.

I am done with our current President, but I fear, there is not much I can do about any of these things.

The doubt and worry, they rise when they rise. The weather and our leader in the White House, geez I wish I had more control over those, but I don’t.

But it is just that, control, which my emerging adults have grown out of with me. I no longer control much about their lives. Whether they write thank you notes or respond to emails or follow-up on projects they begin–I really have nothing to add. Rather, the things I do have to add feel too much like advice or guilt and I am really done with those.

Are we done yet? No, not ever.

While our babies were babies, tiny in the crooks of our elbows, tucked under our chins, neat in jammies, small socks, and a sweet hat for sleeping in winter, they were so controllable! Or were they? Jonathan and I used to say, “The only consistent thing about raising kids is that things are always changing.” One day they nap for 2 hours. They do this for a week or a year, and then, as if they got a message from headquarters, “All babies will now nap for 15 minutes, no more, no less” and there you go, change rattles the nice tidy structure of your day.

 

Maybe it is that the influencers of change as they grow in to emerging adults are so out of our control? Those forces, with names, addresses, and deadlines, are so far out of reach.

Children are not little boats we set on the water to wade after and tend all the way on their journey downstream. Children are great ships. We help them build sturdy hulls, do the foundation work and then, they set sail. We are the safe harbor they return to for fuel, for rest, for consultation.

What I really want to answer is how I care for my creative when the seas of my life are turbulent, the people in my life are living though great change, and I am the one at home, in harbor, doing my own work while tossed by the choppy surf.

 

I do things that I can complete.

I write small things like cards that I plunk a stamp on to and put in the mail basket.

I plant kale and tomatoes, fertilize, stake, and water them.

I sew because it is a task I can complete and call done.

 

 

If one part of my life is upsetting me because of all that is out of my control, I feed the yearning to keep things together by doing just that, in some other way.

 

I sew summer clothing and save my sanity.

The kale and tomatoes lean out of the soil for sunshine.

My kids do a year’s worth of college laundry and get ready to lift off for their summer jobs and adventures.

 

I run along at 5/8” seam allowance, hem with a slim silver needle, tug thread though fiber and let this action receive all my good judgment. I am here if the emerging adults in my house need me. They know where to find me.

 

The only thing I can be sure of is change.

At least I will be dressed for it.

 

xoS

 

 

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Showing 8 comments
  • Janet
    Reply

    “Done is beautiful.” That’s my favorite SBB motto. Maybe for the offspring there’s a variation? Not quite done is beautiful, too. I’m craving what’s beautiful, simple, clear in these stormy seas, too. Planted some sunflowers. Xooo

    • Suzi
      Reply

      Janet, you are a sunflower in my life, always turning your face towards the sun. I got that motto from Carolyn Kostopolus, who ran a costume shop I worked in, in NYC. Done is beautiful…what a relief that perfect is not required. This makes me breathe more easily today. Hugs to your chickens. xoS

  • Julie Bond Genovese
    Reply

    At least I will be dressed for it!!! Bwahahaha! (As I sit here braless and NOT at the ready, should my emerging adults need a ride out into the storm. But hubby is home, so we’re *covered* so to speak.) xoxoxo

    • Suzi
      Reply

      Oh Joolz, will you come to IWWG this summer? Let’s plot some sort of meet-up. I would love to write with you. Love and hugs, S

  • Jennifer Gandin Le
    Reply

    This reminds me that I’ve got a sack full of fabric and patterns for some cute summer clothes chosen two years ago , just before I got pregnant with this second child. Maybe I need to take some measurements of this new body of mine and pull out that old sewing machine. Oh, how I wish we could sit next to each other and go. xoxo

    • Suzi
      Reply

      Oh Tex, this makes me so happy. I will sew with you in my heart. I do pretty much everything with you in my heart, but now, I will add sewing. I wore my apron creation to the Powder Keg last night and learned another of my writers is sews. Thread, needles, making sense with our hands. Barbara Rickman sent me two stunning poems about fiber, thread, and needles yesterday after reading this post. Seems we swim with these acts and images, all of us. Love to you honeypot, S

      • Tasha
        Reply

        As you know this is a main theme of mine too, this connection between the work we do with our hands, our hearts, and how it impacts the world around us. I would love to read those poems if there’s any way you can share them … In any case thanks for being here and continuing to share your thoughts in turbulent times!

  • nancy moon
    Reply

    Hi Suzi. I have missed you. I am done with so many things, and I find myself migrating to those things that make me feel….like me. And you came to my mind. So I’m here again reading your fabulous posts. Are you coming to my area anytime soon so we can have a cup of tea? Much love, and eager to hear more about Armenia.

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