I recently entered a little writing contest on how (in 500 words or less) 'creativity and motherhood intersect' in my life. This was my entry:
Somewhere in and around 15 years old, I began surrounding myself with creative types. My first love was a painter and musician, my second a musician, and my husband now, a musician and a writer. I didn’t have a creative bone in my body, but my desire to be creative was all encompassing. I’d hoped that if I rubbed elbows long enough with a poet, or a photographer, I would catch their beautiful and rare gift, but it just never happened…until I had my daughter.
After a fast and furious labor, Charlie-Anne was born on June 22nd 2009. She was gorgeous with a full head of red hair and big blue eyes that captivated people with their intensity and sparkle. Everything about her was absolutely, undeniably, perfect…until about 5 months old when my husband and I started noticing that her once advanced motor skills now seemed to be regressing. After a stay at the BC Children’s Hospital we were given the news no parent should ever have to hear, “Your daughter has a rare terminal disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy …”. We were obviously devastated. We took Charlie home where we locked the door and cried for three days, forgetting anything other than the three of us existed.
From day one with Charlie she triggered something in me that made me want to live up to my full potential. She helped me uncover a self-esteem inside of me that I never knew I was missing but that I was more than happy to meet. She gave me a sense of purpose, she loved me and softened me up…where I once would shy away from hugs, I now seek them out. I cannot believe what a 6 pound 14 oz red head is capable of. She has changed my life in ways that I never could have imagined, healthy or not.
Because of all that Charlie is and all that she has given me, and the adversity that we are now facing, I have FINALLY, almost without realizing, discovered my creative side to not only help Charlie with her day to day living, but as an outlet for me to relieve some of the stress that her diagnosis brings. We have to be inventive with Charlie’s care, she is weak so we can’t give her regular toys, she plays with feathers, and balloons, and straws. I am always trying to think of new ways to arouse her senses…warm cloths on her skin, bare feet in the sand. I’ve even started a blog about our experiences and feelings in dealing with a child with a terminal illness; It’s become one of my favorite things to do when I get a little time to myself, it’s surprisingly cathartic.
We might only get to enjoy Charlie for a short time, but she’s an angel who has introduced me to parts of myself I’d never have met without her. Mama loves you Charlie, always and forever.