Viv: Our songwriter guest, Arlene Kole, brings us an email she received from a fan in response to the song “Ghosts” for this week’s Creativity Corner. She reflects on letting creativity flourish, even when faced with the demands of family responsibilities.
Arlene: Well, I want to start with an email that was sent to me: “Hi Arlene, I’m a mom, wife, and a photographer. I’m not sure of the order. I’m writing about your song, ‘Ghosts’ as I was in tears. I think you nailed what I’m going through. I’m not very old. I’m 29, but my son just had his ninth birthday and my daughter her 7th. I was in college when I had my babies and I’ve been a struggling artist ever since. It seems that only here recently I’ve found my footing with my own photography business. Putting my business together has been tricky and very time-consuming. I can hardly remember my babies when they were little and growing up. I know I was physically there, but emotionally I was dreaming of what life could be. I feel I’ve missed out on so much of their lives. I find myself wishing I could go back to remember more. I wish I hadn’t worried about so much, but just enjoyed them. What I fear is that when I finally ‘make it’, they’ll be gone. I’m so thankful that I realized it now so that I will take the time to play with Barbie and G.I. Joe, to listen to them, read, sing, dance around the room, instead of always telling them to be quiet. I’m going to laugh at the dinner table and run around with balloons and feed the ducks at the park. I’m going to be the mom I always thought I would be when I was pretending to be a mom in my childhood. But I need to re-evaluate my priorities. I have a lot of life left but I only have so much time with my kids. And now is the time that they want to be with me. I’m determined to return the love. Thank you. Sincerely, Erin Hernandez-Reisner.”
When I read this letter, it, of course, hit home. I realized that there has to be so many creative people out there who are raising families and perhaps not expressing in the way they had envisioned. I think we feel that family is impeding our ability to create. But, when you think about it, a child is the ultimate creation and the ultimate manifestation of a parent’s creativity. When you see your child reflecting the values, the morals, and the confidence you taught them, it’s the same feeling a sculptor feels when he stands back and looks at his work. It’s his time, his vision, his love for what he does. And there it is in full view: it’s life-size. So to all the parents out there: you are creating right now. Your creativity is there to share with your children and know there’s time for personal creative accomplishments. I’ve just begun my own personal musical quest. I’ve raised my family and now I’m in the second part of my life. I know there’s time. It’s going great. Looking back, I think that it’s about everything: it’s incorporating it and making your world creative in every aspect. I have a lot of life left, but I only have so much time with my kids.