Art & Children

Newsletter Final Thought: October 2012

Thanksgiving has just passed in Canada. I am here in China where Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated. I had to remind my in-laws and partner that the holiday even existed. While that would have made me irritable and homesick before, now I take these moments as an opportunity to just reinforce my culture with them… as I tell Echo all about it!

She has taken a lot of my attention this year, as it should be. I’m thrilled to be a mother and even more excited to pass on traditions like Thanksgiving to her as she gets older and can understand what this Canadian half of her heritage is all about. But right now, all she really needs to know is that she is so very loved and her mommy is so very grateful for her existence.

I had dreamed of becoming a mother for many years before this happened, but I constantly delayed the experience, in part, because I was worried it would become a detriment to the progress of my career.

Interestingly enough, when Echo was born, I immediately stopped worrying about that. The worries just evaporated. Because, after all, if she is going to hinder my career advancement then… so be it! What a beautiful hindrance she is! What a perfect reason to slow down and remember the feeling of head bopping to music just because it’s fun, or crawling around beside her on the floor and resdiscovering space and distance on one’s hands and knees.

She is art. She is music. She is so much more than I ever imagined. Her very existence is a doorway, not an obstacle. I’ve stepped through it.

Sometimes I still have this overwhelming feeling that I’m forgetting to do something. In the past, I’ve been a workaholic when it comes to my music career, I know that. When things like the one-year anniversary of my album launch sneaks up on me like it has and I realize that my promotional efforts were minor, for instance, or that I have only done one major tour of the album in North America since its launch, I worry that I’ve forgotten to mother one child in favour of the other, newer (human) one!

But the she smiles up at me and I know that everything is perfect. Everything is as it should be.

I am still creating music–I’ve written three new songs and there are two more in the pipe that are nearly done–and I’m still loving working through arrangements with the band in our weekly rehearsals. And I also wrote these lines recently. Who knows if they’ll become something more, but here you go:

Little hands and little feet
And little arms, reaching
Even with all the sleeplessness,
I wouldn’t trade this teaching
Because after all the works of art
The inspirations that surge then fade
You are, by far, my Little Spark,
The best thing I’ve ever made.

And that really just says it all.

My daughter’s presence in my life has not hindered my art; it has deepened it.

So, to all the parents out there whose lives I never fully understood before, I owe you much belated credit and a head nod of empathy. I get it now.

It’s so worth it.

I’m so grateful.

Happy belated Thanksgiving from this Canadian over in China!


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