The impossible has happened. Our 22 years of hands-on parenting ended this month when our daughter stepped out of our car onto the campus of Smith College in Northampton, Western Massachussets. Her brother left first, and so she has lived the life of an "only child" for some time. And I have dreaded her leaving in a way that was unique, because she was the last. Now my role is changed in profound ways I have yet to discover.
Her leaving was delayed one year due to a concussion, so we were all much more prepared for her to go than we might have been. We felt some sadness, but mostly excitement and relief as she started this next part of the journey.
I find many of my current paintings include children, probably a response to my changing role and sense of self. It is a fun way to work through a seismic shift in my own, small, world.
One of the nice changes at home has been more time to paint. These two pieces are done on heavy rag paper, prepped with gesso, and lightly sanded to smooth the rough surface. The first is from a photo of my daughter fishing when she was two. The second was from a dog-sledding event here in Maine a few winters ago. We try to get out into the cold to embrace winter, rather than feeling trapped by the season. Taking my lesson from that, I am trying to get out to embrace this new season of my life, so that I can embrace it rather than feel trapped by the new realities.