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This one was originally gonna be goofy. I had envisioned a “badass fetus” with a ‘Mom’ tattoo and whatnot. But the night I sketched it onto the canvas, I had a couple realizations.
I no longer feel like I’m playing high-stakes ‘House’ when I call my kiddo ‘my Son’.
I no longer feel like a fraud when I call myself “Mommy”.
Our prenatal and neonatal and postpartum journey is a whole friggin’ story that I’ll share in-person, but on paper, I’ll just say it was tumultuous at best, earth-shattering at worst.
I was so distant, and distraught, and I felt like the World’s Worst Mother. Ya know what, I actually didn’t even feel like a Mother, which made me feel so damn ashamed and guilty and scared. My son Frankie deserves the best, and I felt like I couldn’t keep anything together.
After our 51 days in the NICU, I had maybe a month before I was back at work again. I didn’t have time to heal. And I didn’t feel like I could say anything to bookers or producers etc, because, well, we have bills to pay.
But, these last few months, I (mercifully, thankfully) feel so far removed from that previous version of me. And I feel like I’ve finally found, and stepped into, and at this point broken in, my Mom Shoes.
And it feels so good.
When I was sketching out this painting, I realized ‘holy crap, I think I’m painting Fetus Frank!’.
And I was. And so, it was painted differently.
For example, I didn’t have any background tv or noise on to keep me company. Just me and my thoughts and reflections. And in the evenings, normally I’d join my sis-in-law and/or sweetheart in a beer or wine and continue to paint, but I didn’t continue on this piece if I had even one sip. And I didn’t feel rushed. I learned a lot about brush strokes and paints. I learned that Bob Ross was on to something with his ‘No mistakes, only happy accidents’.
And I feel like I learned more about how Franks and I operate together. I certainly took the time painting to reflect.
While I was painting away, I realized I’ll be showing him my life. This big ole life I’ve cobbled together. This life that I will till, and sow, and reap, until I am called Home.
And I’ll be trying to show him how to tend to his own garden. Which is, whew, really scary, but also really exciting.
And then I realized that it’s starting now. It’s literally happening right in front of me.
Every day, he discovers something, and a bud appears.
Every day, he develops an interest, and that bud blossoms.
We’ve shared so much, and we always will. But he’s beginning to tend to his own garden.
And I feel honoured to witness his bloom.
A Garden Grows
acrylic on 24” x 36” canvas