A Mother’s Hug Lasts Long After She Lets Go

FullSizeRender(3)

A watercolor rendition of a photo of Joey Feek and her daughter Indiana

It’s post Mother’s Day, a day that is meant to honor. remember, and celebrate our mothers and our own motherhood.  It is often a day of joy and making memories, but for many, it is also a day that signifies loss.  It might be the loss of a mother.  I lost my own mother at the age of 44 due to breast cancer.  It might be the unimaginable loss of a child.  I lost my first daughter, Sierra RayLeen, who was a preemie that died the same day she was born.  Perhaps it’s the loss of hope to become a mother, or the feeling of loss for a mother that has given up a child for adoption, or has been a surrogate, granting another to experience the joys of being a mother.  For some, it may be a combination of these scenarios, or others not mentioned.  I feel so fortunate to have known my mother and have had her for as long as I did.  I know so many that lost their mothers at a much younger age than mine.  Sadly, some never even know their mother.

Joey Feek, country singer and composer, was on my mind on Mother’s Day.  She died recently of cervical cancer, leaving behind an amazing family, including a beautiful daughter, Indiana.  Her story captured my heart from the moment I heard it.  Perhaps it was because she was so young, as was my mother.  Perhaps it was because she died of cervical cancer (I was diagnosed with cervical cancer, the earliest stage remedied with a hysterectomy).  All I know is that I was drawn into the story of she and her family as she was deemed terminal and she went to her childhood home to spend her remaining days with her family.  Her husband, Rory had said she was not going home to die, but to “live”.  The love she had for her family was evident in every last photograph that was shared with the public. I did an abstract painting from a photograph of Joey and her daughter, Indiana, who had fallen asleep on her mother who was embracing her while laying on a hospital bed.  It was a beautiful photograph, and the moment I saw it, I knew I wanted to paint it.  I had found a quote that I thought was perfect for this photograph, “A mother’s hug lasts long after she lets go”.

On this Mother’s Day, I was elated to spend time with my two grown children, Talisa and Taylor.  I am so thankful that God blessed and entrusted me with these  two beautiful beings.  They are grown-up, but they will always be my babies.  I have outlived my mother’s age by nearly five years now, and I recognize how fortunate I have been to watch my kids grow up and to see my grandchildren.  Nothing is promised and we never know how much time we have here on earth.  I am truly grateful for every moment I have with my children, whether it’s spending time together, on the phone, or even the little messages we send back and forth (thanks to current technology).  As quoted by Hermann Hesse, “If I know what love is, it is because of you”.

April Giveaway!!

IMG_9057

April Giveaway!!!

 

Sign up to follow my blog and be entered into a drawing on April 30th for a FREE 8×10″ matted and framed custom watercolor portrait!!  Drawing will be held on April 30th at 8pm and winner will be announced thereafter.  This is a $120 value.  Go to my Facebook page (Watercolor Creations Gallery) and share my page for an additional chance to win.  Good luck!

Best Friends

IMG_7833

Best Friends

A few months ago, I was asked to paint a picture of a friend’s husband with their beautiful (and quite large) dog, “Big John”.  I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t do the portrait justice, as Big John is very black, and watercolors tend to lift, so you have to be very careful when painting.  It took longer than most pictures, as it took many layers of paint to get the desired effect, but it is one of my favorites.  I want to give a shout-out to my friend, whom this painting was done for, as she and her husband have the most amazing business called Woodsy Wonders Props, making beautiful props for newborn photographs (they have many other amazing things too).  Check out her Instagram account @woodsywondersprops.

Dogs are known to be and often referred to be “Man’s Best Friend”.  I miss having a dog, but my allergies were pretty intense as a child when I had dogs.  Plus, I really don’t have adequate time to spend with a dog, or other pet, so I choose not to have any at this time.  Perhaps down the road, when I am retired and/or have the adequate time to spend with my pet, I will do so again.

I appreciate the loyalty that I have experienced with pets.  My first very own pet was a dog that actually adopted me.  I was about twelve-years-old and in the 5th grade.  My parents and I lived out in the country, about 8 miles from town.  We had horses, but no other pets at the time.  This short, little black and white mutt showed up at our house and I was absolutely elated. He didn’t have a collar, and we assumed he strayed from home.  A few days later, we found out that he belonged to our neighbors just up the road.  I was a little bummed that we found his owner, as I wanted to keep him, but at least I knew I could visit him, since he lived so close.  I found out that his name was Spanky (a little homage to The Little Rascals series) and the neighbors had just adopted him the prior week.  They tried to keep him home, but every chance he had, he would run down the road to my house, much to my surprise, and joy!  After many weeks of trying to keep him home, the neighbors finally suggested that I keep him, since he clearly had adopted me, and they couldn’t keep him home. We all, including my parents, knew that he belonged with me, so that’s how he became my very first pet of my own and my best friend.

I LOVED that dog!!!  He would  actually wait for me at the bus stop each day when I returned home from school.  He had short, stubby legs, but he could run surprisingly fast when he saw me, or knew I was coming.  He brought joy to my world and often went with me as I explored the outdoors (this was long before video games, cell phones and DVDs).  He was a Heinz-57, which ultimately meant that he was a various mixed breed of dog.  I couldn’t even tell you what various breeds he may have consisted of, but it doesn’t really matter, because he loved me with all of his being, and he helped me get through a difficult childhood filled with instability and uncertainty.  I have had other pets, and he is long gone, but Spanky will forever be special in my heart due to the unconditional love that we had for each other.

 

 

New Beginning

IMG_7780

New Beginning

This is a commissioned painting that I did for a young woman that I watched grow up from a young girl into a beautiful (inside and out) woman.  She is now a mother of the most adorable little baby girl, now one year old.  I enjoy painting wedding pictures, as they are so precious; full of excitement of a new journey through life together, and wonderment of what’s to come.

I have been married (and soon to be divorced) twice now.  It is not how I had envisioned my life, and there are times where I can’t help but think, “what is wrong with me”.  What could I have done differently…what could I have said that may have changed the course of the life of me and my partner.  In my limited wisdom from both age and experience, I now believe that there are a million answers to those questions.  I wasn’t perfect, my partner wasn’t perfect, and ultimately, not one person, but in fact, both are to blame for the untimely demise of our relationship.  Hindsight is always 20/20, and that’s because we often see what we refused to see when we were together with that person.  It’s always easier to blame the other person, but the truth is, in my humble opinion, that there is always some blame on both parties.  I won’t go into the details of how my marriages dissolved, but as a wiser person, who truly tries to learn from my experiences, I think that in both cases, we simply grew apart.  We “allowed” ourselves to grow apart.  It’s tragic and sad, especially when there are children are involved.  But, one must hope that they can pick up the pieces, learn from the past, and continue their journey into the future.  That’s what I have done, and I have to say that I am happier than I have ever been.  I have a wonderful man that has been in my life for the last nearly three years, and because we have both been married, I believe that we don’t have unrealistic expectations or fantasies about what a relationship should be.  We have taken our experiences to heart, and  together, we appreciate the relationship that we have, still appreciating our previous experiences.

I went into my first marriage very young (just turned 19) and had unrealistic expectation of what marriage would be.  I was still very much a child, so I was literally growing-up as I was first experiencing my role as a wife.  Not the best combination to ensure a lasting marriage.  Top that off with the loss of a child, parents (on both side) and other stressful situations, and you have the perfect recipe for a failed marriage.  Sure, if I could go back, I would change many things, but on the other hand, I may not have changed a thing, as it led me to where I am today.  I am happy, in love, doing what I love (watercolor painting).  I have beautiful, happy, adult children, and grandchildren.  I have many blessings in my life and I truly wouldn’t change a thing.

 

 

Great Expectations

image

Great Expectations

It’s been nearly 29 years since I experienced my first pregnancy. I knew very early on in my childhood that I wanted to be a mom. I was only 19-years-old when I was first married and was pregnant less than a year later. I can still remember the first “flutters” in my belly, proof that there really was a little being growing inside. It was the most amazing feeling and I couldn’t wait to meet my “little”. Unfortunately, our meeting came three months too soon. I was only six months pregnant when I went into labor.  My little’s lungs weren’t fully developed and she survived for less than six hours. It was painful and beautiful at the same time. While we were devastated, we felt fortunate to have had the opportunity to spend those precious hours with our baby girl. A future blog post will be solely dedicated to my baby girl Sierra RayLeen.  “Great Expectations” was created to celebrate the beautiful experience of becoming a mother; certainly the most amazing experience of my life.