Last Friday I had my first “girls” night with my 8 month old daughter. Older brother was sleeping over at Nana’s and my husband was out with friends for the evening.  It was just the girls.  So we decided to rent a movie.  Being the gracious sweetheart my daughter is, she let me pick.   It has been ages since I’ve watched films that would interest just me.  Our TV time is fairly limited anyway, and when we do switch it on, our son has a large (read “complete veto”) say in what we are watching…so Praise Baby, The Wiggles, Laurie Berkner and Baby Cookie Monster are generally the rotating feature films.

OK back to girls night. I picked out a film called, The Visitor.  I’d never heard of it before, but thought it sounded interesting from the jacket. A beautiful film about unexpected relationships and awakenings….and about African drumming.  The main character plays the djembe.  I was in heaven!

In college I loved to African dance.  There was a group that met once a week and we danced to live drumming.  It was amazing.  It got me thinking about some of the things that I used to do, that were part of my life before I had children.  I kept thinking back, all the interests and activities that I had enjoyed over the years in high school and college and beyond.

Sometimes, if we allow it, our lives and responsibilities as a mother can consume us. From time to time, it may be worthwhile to take stock of where our unique dreams, passions and interests fall in the pecking order of things.   I’m not promoting that we push our own agenda to the neglect of the needs of our husband and children, but if we do not tend to our own needs we are not serving anyone very well.  Doing what we love and what makes us feel inspired and creative is important for own wellness and growth. And it also models important values to our children.

The underlying statement we make to our children when we care for ourselves is that being well and healthy is important.  It is something that should not be sacrificed and will allow you to ultimately be of best use in the service of others.

When we cultivate our interests and passions we show our children the beauty of a life that has flavor, energy, joy and purpose.  When we keep creativity central in our life, we are saying that our dreams are a gift; given to us to be used for the blessing of others and necessary to living a full and truly alive life.

When we keep growing and learning and challenging ourselves we model for our children how exciting, fun, enjoyable and worthwhile education is.  How knowledge is gained and refined through a whole lifetime.  We communicate a love for inquisition, for exploring, for trying something new.

What do you love to do?  What are your interests?  What gets you excited?

I was reminded while watching that film that many things that make feel alive and creative have slipped away from my life.

I thought about how much I love painting.  How I love to make jewlery.  I love travel, camping, hiking in the mountains, swimming in lakes.  I love sketching in a journal.  I love picnics.  I love photography.  I love gardening.  I love studying chemistry.  I love whittling and woodworking.  I love to dance.  I love watching indie and documentary films.

I know that my life is fuller now with many other commitments, but weaving in what makes me uniquely me and HAPPY is important. So instead of signing up for a dance class, I downloaded some African drumming music and have been dancing with my children to it…I’ve also set up my paints again and play with color on my OWN canvas as my son explores his… and I unearthed a box that has some treasures I collected from my travels and set them out on my dresser.

It feels so nice just to see them again and to remind me to retain that Lisa too, even in the midst of a very new Lisa emerging.