Two kids, two jobs and a house I try to keep from falling into a shambles are my Top Five Reasons I Don’t Have Time for Anything Else excuse.
Yet I’ve been experimenting with the notion that while time is a finite commodity, it is also malleable. And while it’s true that I can’t necessarily whip up an extra hour or two, the time I do have can be creatively sculpted in more ways than I normally employ in my day-to-day, cleaning-my-house, caring-for-kids and paying-our-bills existence.
Essentially, it’s not that the time for certain things doesn’t exist – it’s that I don’t carve out time for those things nearly enough.
Long ago, well before the directional arrow of my life orbited the compass of the Three Ms (Marriage, Mortgage, and Motherhood,) I spent time engaged in things like Arts and Crafts Hour. One of my best college friends and I would hole up in her apartment, shoulders crouched over jewelry wire and hot glue guns, crafting things that had little function besides being an empty vessel for our sequin-encrusted creativity. (In fairness to my girlfriend, it was only my creative projects that turned out like treasures of a middle school art class. She has gone on to a successful career as a jewelry designer.)
I didn’t much mind that cobweb-like strings of hot glue messily covered my dried flower wreaths, or that my candles stood crooked. The intention of Arts and Crafts Hour was not so much to create a masterpiece (my creative aspirations always overshadowed my aptitude), but rather to serve as an escape from the goal-driven uniformity of daily life. It wasn’t necessarily about the product, but rather the process; mindless hours spent in the pointless pursuit of making something beautiful – and, if not beautiful, at least interesting. And if not interesting, at least comical.
Nowadays, it’s difficult to justify Arts and Crafts Hour. There is a never-ending to-do list burned into my consciousness, comprised of things like scraping squished raisins off the floor and tackling the unwieldy beast that is our stack of unopened mail, unpaid bills and unfiled papers that magically grows in size despite my efforts to strike it down.
All “free” time in my day should be consumed by these menial tasks, my Three M compass tells me.
Yet I’ve kept my hoard of supplies for Arts and Crafts hour, anticipating that upon checking off the last remaining box of that obscure to-do list, at some dreamy, faraway future date, I will actually feel like I have nothing else to do but plug in the hot glue gun and roll out the tuile and sequins.
Perhaps the shift of the seasons, from winter’s insulation to the clarity of spring, has awakened my awareness, but I’ve recently come to this realization: Never again will I have “nothing” to do. So if I really want to do something, I just need to find the time to do it.
This week, my Mother’s Day gift to myself was to reinstate Arts and Crafts Hour. For one evening a week, I ignore the paperwork beast and step over the squished raisins to spend one mindless hour in the pursuit of something pointless. My first project? “Bud blossoms”: Willow twigs I’ve collected from the yard and spotted with pink tissue paper “buds,” affixed with (what else?) glitter glue.
So they have the look of a sixth-grade Mother’s Day art project; I’m OK with that, because they are airy and cheery and fun. Their worth is not in their imperfect façade – three curved twigs dotted with squares of twisted tissue paper, globs of glitter catching the sun as they rest in a vase on the kitchen counter.
Their worth is in the time I spent making them.