By: Christina Gentile
Here is what I bought at the start of the pandemic: a watercolor kit, a tie dye kit, and a punch-needling kit. Here is what I have to show for my efforts, as the pandemic dies a slow, stubborn death: a watercolor kit, a tie dye kit, and a punch-needling kit. All unopened.
March of 2020, I set out to find my thing. I looked at all these women who have robust, interesting hobbies. The ones who quilt, ride horses, or keep bees. They’re my friends and neighbors and they’re awesome. So independent! So creative! So fulfilled! I’ve been jealous of them forever. I knew that I would find my own magical, special secret talent - preferably one that I could do without needing to wear a bra, or real pants. I would have an inner glow, a quiet confidence, that comes from tapping into your true potential. People would wonder - how does she do it all? Successful mother, lawyer, wife, friend, entrepreneur… and glassblower. Yes, that’s me. Figure drawing while simultaneously riding my Peloton and checking emails? No problem!
I’d like to say that I don’t know when I became derailed from the task of finding myself a hobby, but it’s too hard to say since I never even tried. I could lie and say that I didn’t have the time. But even with managing kids and a husband and a dog and a bearded dragon and a tortoise and a job, during the past year somehow it feels like all I’ve had is time. Although now that I think about it, the time that I have is unpredictable, unprotected, and it’s always when I’m actually supposed to be doing something else. At any moment, it can be claimed by someone who needs help with a quadratic equation, or help finding an escaped cricket from the lizard terrarium. My time is mine, but not mine - it’s up for grabs, borderless, uncontained, undefined.
So I expanded my previous random, miscellaneous skill set, like every mom has during the past 13 months. Instead of teaching myself how to knit, I learned how to unclog a toilet because we didn’t want to have the plumber in the house (sticking your arm in ice-cold toilet water to physically pull the toilet paper out really does work). I discovered that adding tahini when making chocolate chip cookies is amazing. I stumbled upon Afrobeat. I drove a boat in very choppy waters without peeing my pants in fear, or capsizing. And my glow? I got it from purchasing new but reasonably priced skincare products.
I think I felt like I wanted to create something beautiful at a time when everything felt like it was blowing up and falling apart. So much uncertainty that just happened so damn fast. I think I felt like I wanted to make a monument to all of this weirdness and yuckiness. A magnificent watercolor-glass-tie dye-needlepoint work of art covered in reptile poop and burning bras and N95 masks.
I am so thankful to have a community like You Have A Village where I can be heard without judgment from other parents. If you’re interested in learning more about You Have A Village, please visit us at https://www.youhaveavillage.com/for-parents to learn more about the services and supports that we offer for parents.