I've been anticipating today for at least a couple of months. Today I am heading up to Northern VA, to attend my very first art retreat. It's ArtBliss, run by two extremely talented ladies, Cindy Wimmer and Jeanette Blix Ryan. I'm taking a class tomorrow on metalsmithing and enameling -- in particular, how to make enameled copper beads out of sheet copper and some hand tools. Neat, huh? I can't wait. Among other exciting things happening this weekend is my ability to FINALLY meet a friend and fellow jewelry/glass artist, Kerry Bogert, whose work I have admired for years. I am thrilled beyond measure that things finally fell into place for us to be in the same location!
Originally I had planned to drive up to the workshop on Saturday morning. It would make for a long day, but the budget is tight, and I didn't think I wanted to stay overnight someplace that is only 2 hours from my house. Really. BUT, I was persuaded to spring for the hotel room and stay overnight so I could attend the reception for the instructors and participants that is being held tonight. I am glad now that I decided to do that, although today has been an interesting day inside my head.
I haven't traveled much over the last 3 or 4 years for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is money, and my very young children. I think the last time I went anywhere was sometime after Wren was born and I attended an out of town SCA event with some friends, or took my daughter's Girl Scout troop camping.
I've never spent the night away from Noah.
Now, lest you think I'm about to get all mushy over going out of town for about 36 hours, I will tell you that THAT is not what causes all the mulling over and contemplation. Traveling -- the act of planning even a short, small trip -- seems like such an *adult* thing to do. Making hotel reservations, deciding what to pack, getting in the car and actually going to the destination....these all seem like such grown-up tasks. Never mind that I *am* a grown-up, and I do terribly adult things all day every day -- raise kids, work professionally, cook dinner, organize, clean, be responsible. It's different somehow.
I never was in a position, with the career I chose, to travel professionally on business trips. Maybe that's why it seems so grown-up to me. REAL adults go away on business. I have plenty of friends who probably detest the whole airport/hotel/meals out/business meetings routine by now, but I have never experienced it. Leaving this afternoon seems like a big deal. I know *how* to travel, and I know how to take care of myself alone and out in the world, so to speak, but I have never had to do it repeatedly, nor manage my family AND do it, like my IT and statistician and sales friends do. It's this sort of thing that has been running around in my brain all day.
I feel like a grown-up today. In addition to getting my act together for this trip, I also made hotel reservations for a much longer, much more distant trip for next month. I'll be joined by a friend of mine for a fun few days to glass-geek in Corning, NY. That's going to be a fun trip, too, and one I am so looking forward to.
I feel like I am about to press a giant 'reset' button on my life. I know that when I come home from these two trips, I will be refreshed, in mind and in soul. I know that I will have new skills and new knowledge that is going to help me advance the art I make, and maybe, just maaaaybe, help me get turned in the direction my soul really wants me to go in. It's been so hard to be still and listen to what I am sure the universe is probably shouting at me by now.
My family will be in the extremely capable hands of my ever-loving and wonderful husband, and I have no worries about him managing our brood, our house and home, and whatever else comes up, while I am not here. It's all good.
My 'soupcase' (as Noah so beautifully calls it) is packed and in the car. I packed more than I will need for an overnight trip, and this is because even though I *am* an adult, I barely know how to dress myself. I am so far from girly most of the time that I realize I don't even know what to do to cover up the deep, dark circles under my eyes. I never wear makeup, unless I am going someplace really dressed up, and I don't have any sort of skin-care routine or knowledge of particular fashion trends. It figures. I get the chance to go someplace by myself and dress up a little (sort of, I mean, we are going to be making art), and I don't know what to do! Heh. I'll survive. And at least people tell me I in no way appear my actual age (which is 40, for those playing along at home), so there's a bonus. I just hope I look my best. I want to look my best, even though I will be among friends and have absolutely no agenda and no need or desire to impress anyone.
I will be me, and that will not only be enough, but will be perfectly enough. In twenty minutes, my oldest child gets off the middle-school bus, and I am. On. The. Road.