Empty nest, empty chest

My daughter had left home and found a great job, there was every reason to congratulate her and feel like an accomplished single parent when I realised she was going to be fine. Except that I felt absolutely downright ruined. While she’s a lovely young person, the day she moved out I don’t think she understood, really, how difficult her leaving was for me. But how could she? I’d kept her very protected from the reality of what it took to keep us afloat while she went through school. I was determined to never let her truly see how hard life was for a single mum, because I didn’t want her to imagine for a second that I regretted anything. It was very difficult. I reached out to a psychologist (with the help of my GP) and was able to start working on my mental health. In a way, that made it easier to be happy for my daughter, but also to see the silver lining. I’ve never seen myself as a lonely person, so it came a shock to understand that most of my issues came down to feeling abandoned. But it was undeniably true, so we found ways to work in accordance to it, building back my capacity to function as a single unit again. I took out a loan and renovated my old studio in the back of the property, converting it into a printmaking studio. Five students enrolled in the first two weeks I announced my classes. Returning to art brought a spark back to my life, it gave me a reason to keep moving forward. I attribute my understanding of how special and important that time was, albeit painful, to my psychologist. Mornington has such a rich history of artists across all disciplines, from sculpture to oil on canvas. Retrospectively, it seems obvious to begin teaching again. I never considered a huge change until it was proposed to me that I needed more as well. It was easily the best decision I’d ever made for myself.