She was born a creative. She designed her Barbie’s wardrobe with care and when she got old enough, she sewed the clothing herself.
She was born a creative. She came out of the womb scrawling words with crayons on any available surface.
She was born a creative. She took apart the broken electronics, at first never to be restored again, but as she got more experienced, to a more functional status.
She was born a creative. She was singing before she could speak, and she was drumming out a beat before she could walk.
She was born a creative. She was finding ways to make a buck from the moment she was shown a dollar bill, whether from lemonade stands or bake sales or lawn mowing, her mind was always spinning with ideas.
It used to be she admired the way a curl fell across the forehead of her high school crush and penciled it delicately into her sketchbook. It used to be her photographs were at slumber parties focused on giggling girls surrounding a bowl of popcorn. It used to be local politics that infused the pages of her editorials.
But times have changed.
Nowadays, the guy she loves has tiny little wrinkles around his eyes and a receding hairline, and she carefully pencils the wrinkles into her sketchbook and shades in his balding head.
Nowadays, her evening photos are of her slumbering baby or her teen with a beautiful prom date. Nowadays, she writes poetry about her daughter’s fumbling pirouettes or her pile of dishes in the sink.
She used to make gourmet meals in her kitchen with the latest pop songs blasting from her speakers. Nowadays, there’s a toddler pulling at the pot handle with marker on his nose and a baby crying in the other room while “Let It Go” plays on full-blast and boxed mac n’ cheese is boiling in the pot.
She used to shape and mold clay with her hands as her siblings watched TV in the next room and while her mom made dinner. Nowadays, there’s an infant fussing to be nursed and a preschooler squashing her efforts when her back is turned.
She used to write profound sentences about the state of the world or the latest book she’d picked up from the library. Nowadays, the moment she sits down at the computer her children are pulling their papers out of their backpacks for her to sign and her husband is asking her questions.
She’s still a creative.
She still has an eye for good style.
She still has a love for a perfectly worded sentence.
She still knows she can assemble anything.
She still has a mind that spins with ideas.
She still has a potter’s wheel in the home office.
She still browses the cookbooks at the bookstore and scrolls through the foodie blogs.
She still has a sketchbook, a camera, a notebook squirreled away in the diaper bag.
She pops up with her work from time to time, but in some ways she’s in hibernation, waiting for the season when she’ll awaken.
She’s more mother than creative right now. Creative these days mostly means figuring out how to store the shoes so they don’t spill through the entire house, or working out how to stretch the budget, or learning how to coax a small person to use the toilet.
But when she sits down to her work again in the spring, it turns out her art was at work all this time, and it’s now beginning to bloom. It turns out that art is made of the sound of little footsteps pitter-pattering across the house. It turns out that art is made of fingerprints on the window panes and spontaneous stories at bedtime. It turns out that art is made of feedings in the middle of the night, and art is made of late-night talks with teens. It turns out that art is made from homework battles and scratchy violin music coming from inexperienced fingers. It turns out that art is made from gingerbread houses and jack-o’-lanterns, snow forts, and fairy gardens. It turns out that art is made from receding hairlines and wrinkles around the eyes.
She’s a creative with a paintbrush in her hand and a poem in her heart.
She’ll always be a mother now, and she’ll always be a creative.