Friday is here, and I’m thinking about joy. I was sitting in my studio the other morning, and snapped this picture from a corner of one of the bookshelves. It was relatively early, and none of the kids were awake yet. It gave me time to enjoy some quietness and plan for my day.
The week has been somewhat overwhelmingly busy with client projects and work needs. I am in the midst of developing two campaigns to promote Starkville tourism, and it’s sort of my “busy season” — if this busy-ness can be distinguished from other busy-ness — in preparation for the fall needs of some of my most faithful clients. Busy-ness is a good “problem” to have. It’s rather like a blessing than a problem, I guess. At least that’s how I see it, and I’ve been quite blessed lately.
With the children out of school for the ever-shortening summer vacation, I’ve been enjoying having three side-kicks with me most days. We keep busy playing outside with popular kids wagons , playing in the dirt is such a valuable lesson. Back in the spring, I made arrangements for them to be enrolled in their normal summer program, but for some reason this year, I was more anxious to take them out of another routine and allow a little more freedom. They’ve each had a few day camps. We spent 10 days on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and Gulf Shores, Alabama. We’ve tried to delve into our “summer jar,” as I wrote about in my last post a month ago, and enjoy some family activities. And, mostly, we’ve enjoyed being “off the clock”, so to speak, with the wake up, bedtime and scheduled routine.
What that’s meant for my summer is that I’ve been doing a little extra juggling of projects and my workflow. I’ve been doing more balancing than normal in trying to get work completed. The city planning of “Lego World” on the dining table, staging for the next puppet show, craft projects, comfy clothes, couch “slumber parties”, and a stream of favorite movies on Netflix have all punctuated my very fragmented design time.
In the midst of all this three-ring circus, each of them have invariably commented to me at one time or another, “you always have to work!” And, sometimes, as a freelancer and small business owner, it seems like I do!
I don’t punch a clock. Or leave an office. Or shut down the equipment. Some of my choices for how I’ve structured my work and life-life mean work sometimes happens at odd times, in odd places, and with odd background music. And, with the creative process being such a huge part of my business development and perpetual task list, all kinds of odd things get lumped into work — drawing, painting, looking at books, doodling, taking photos, using scissors and ribbons and paper and such! Sometimes just looking at my phone or iPad gets lumped into the work category in all our minds.
When I hear that “you always have to work!” from one of my loves, I try to remind them — and myself — that our freedom this summer means working together so Mommy can take care of responsibilities. Wednesday night, Bug asked me, “do you have to work tomorrow?” His commentary when I said “yes” started some good reminders for me and the children about how privileged we are to structure our lives this way. “You can bring your laptop upstairs with us.” “Because we don’t have to go to after school.” “You can work some and play with us some.” Yes. Yes, I can. We talked about what a blessing it is that we have the choice of whether the kids can stay home today. The choice to set our own schedules. And, I asked them to help me and compromise with me as I make some of those choices to balance what they want to do with what I need to do. To see the fact that Mommy is creating ad campaigns in the living room as the joy and blessing it is.
When I find myself having trouble with drawing the lines or struggling with client communications and design puzzles as I’m tuning out songs from Frozen, I have to remind myself again and again of those same things. To stop and remember how special this time is. How grateful I am to have it. To recognize the blessing and joy born out of those blurred lines. I guess that’s what I was doing when I snapped the “Joy” photo. Thinking about how rare this time is. This “summer break” when all four of us are in the house. When all three of them are vying for my attention, my listening ear, my involvement in whatever project has emerged. And at the same time, when so many new art opportunities are presenting themselves — the chance to work with organizations and clients who make the process very un-work-like. It’s rare. It’s precious.
Oh Happy Day!We