Monday, August 1, 2016

Plein Air and Plain Life





I'm having a hard time getting my head around the fact that my kids are getting to that point where I think they'd rather mom and dad (Ian and myself) just go DO something alone (together) as opposed to trying to force them out into the world to do who knows what. Camping, for example, is something I have always loved. I bought a tent several years ago and I wanted to go then. Alas, here we are, 3 summers later and we still haven't done it. Our oldest says he doesn't want to and our youngest couldn't be bothered if the oldest isn't interested. They are kind of connected at the hip in that way. So, I've been trying to wrap my brain around the fact that we need to start doing stuff without our kids in tow. I hate to bring up an old cliché, but where did the time go? A couple weekends ago, we stayed at a hotel alone while I attended a two day long art event. The moment I walked into the hotel room I breathed the deepest sigh of relief I think I have experienced in a long long time. Nobody wanted anything from me in there... It was very relaxing. Ian and I had a nice time and the kids had an even nicer time alone back in Saint John. I remember those years of my teen life, when my mother would go away for a weekend (or a week) and I always had a lot of fun in those times. Such freedom! Maybe a little too much freedom in many ways, but freedom nonetheless. Our kids got a taste of that when we went away for two whole nights and they seemed to do just fine. This, I suppose, implies that we've done a mighty fine job of raising them, but I honestly can't believe we are at this point in our family life. But, we are. C'est la vie.

So, today, we did a little something different that I have always wanted to do, but never felt I had the freedom to do, and that is plein air painting. I have never ever painted landscapes as I saw them in the moment--outside--before. It was so much fun (my idea of fun is likely not the same as yours!). And it was free and I felt like we were on vacation although we were only about a 15 minute walk from our apartment. I didn't finish the painting... it got too hot, the paint was drying too fast, but I started something I really like and I think this is going to be a new kind of lifestyle that I have been wanting, but too afraid to want, because it doesn't necessarily fall within the scope of motherhood in the traditional sense that I have known it all these years. But, that's where we stand. I'm looking into a camping trip, just Ian and I, to Grand Manan next month. Even if that doesn't work out, though, there are so many many places Ian and I can go (on foot, even) where I can paint the day away. It is a very happy and promising thought to me.

My husband read while I painted and he also very chivalrously carried a backpack full of art supplies for me to our destination. It was heavy and bulky, but he didn't seem to care. We sat together quietly, chatting now and then. But otherwise, it was seagulls making all the noise while I painted. We sat at the park just above Reversing Falls, the waters were calm, boats came and went. I can't tell you how much I love this unassuming city of Saint John. We've come a long way since we moved here almost two years ago now. I think I can breathe an entirely different sigh of relief that we have done a very good job of settling in here. Amen to that. I am grateful.

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