she likely doesn’t know this, but i met lk ludwig during what would be a couple of the most pivotal few days of my life. i had taken the leap and traveled alone to an art retreat for the first time ever. i was just beginning to explore my creative wings and although i was intensely scared, i had an inner calling that something special and life changing was in store for me…and it was. it was during those few days that i unearthed my creative self and the rest is history. i took three classes during that art retreat, one of them taught by LK. i remember being so drawn to her and how she nurtured us through our project. she would stop and read poetry every now again through the day of teaching – i thought that was so cool. her spirit was calm, tender, wise.
fast forward four years and i’m finding myself in another pivotal time in my life, another significant journey where everything is new and being redefined. LK so graciously sent me the following letter and i responded to every single word. i asked if i could share her words, knowing that they would reach out to the wires and greet all of you with their honesty. i felt instantly better after receiving her letter. thank you, lk, for quietly nurturing me during two very important beginnings of my life: creative life, and new mama life.
ps: the photos are of Sunny, LK’s youngest 🙂
Dear Kelly Rae,
I never realized that there was a not-so-secret sisterhood, a sorority of sorts where the initiation rite is one where you turn your life and your heart inside out and become a mom. I was one of those women who didn’t really want kids. “I’ll be a very good aunt,” I would say at 30, 32, 34, and then things began to change. I married at 35, and during our first Christmas as a family, Joe said, “We need babies! We can’t have Christmas without babies!” And, so we began. I had Gryphon at 36. I was so worried, anxious about how this would change my artist’s life, I had just come into my own voice, how would I have any time to do anything, how would I do it all, what would I lose, how would I stay me?
I did stay me, of course, but I am a different me, a stronger me, a kinder, more compassionate me. Suddenly, everyone was someone’s child- everyone had a mom, just like Gryphon had a mom, and I had more understanding of how things might be behind the scenes for people. My strength grew as my experience with parenting grew. I could do this- I would keep him safe, I would see him through illness and teething and whatever came our way. My heart grew. I learned to love in a way for which there is no duplicate; no other kind of love is like the love you have for that baby, built cell by cell inside your own body. You knew him before he was born, and he you.
You are doing great! Even if you are covered in milk, and spit up and maybe even poop, you are still doing great. You are absolute magic. Everything True sees and hears is new, and fresh. One of my favorite songs we sang to Gryphon when he was wee, was called “My Little Potato” by Metamora… this song has a line that says, “The world is new, so new, it’s new to you ” And one of True’s gifts to you, is that you get to share in that newness and bask in the wonder that will radiate as he discovers the world. Being a mom is the coolest job in the universe!
Gradually, life assumes some sort of pattern, and you begin to find your rhythm more quickly after each change your child goes through that requires you to step up your game- when they are learning to walk, toddlerhood… and if you find yourself having another baby, perhaps you will worry like I did, “How will I ever love another child as much as I do this one?” Somehow, astonishingly, we are built to be utterly infinite in that capacity. You do love as much, you expand. My third child turned four years old three hours ago. I can’t believe we are out of babyhood. I wish could have another!