Today I interviewed an artist for our new camp.
She was home painting apples—you know what I mean. Major art school graduate. She had been in the Peace Corps. In Indonesia. Teaching art to kids. She once moved to California just because she felt like it. She had had a nice job in a public school but felt the administration was getting in the way of her artistic connection to the kids. She busks in the street—setting up her easel on a random corner in NYC—paints for a while, sells to passersby, and then hangs out, enjoying the view.
She does whatever she feels like, every day.
She is unencumbered.
There is no one I ever met in my whole life who is that fancy free.
Of course we hired her.
An old friend of mine once shocked me by not totally congratulating me on giving birth to my first son. She said, yeah—but now what do you do if you want to go to the movies?
When I was a little girl, I used to learn with my father on Shabbos mornings.
I made myself a thick slab of challah and peanut butter and a big glass of chocolate milk and Daddy got out the Pirkei Avos.
One of the best lines that stuck in my head like that Skippy to the roof of my mouth was: Marbeh nechasim, marbeh da’agah.
A phrase that will forever prevent me from buying a white sofa or (even if I could afford it) a Jaguar.
“The more you have, the more you have to worry about.”
You know, encumbered.
Oh, but I am encumbered in so many many other ways now—with 4 (and on good days, 5) kids and a husband-type who I actually work with all the time so there’s no fudging my hours, 2 honestly insane dogs, a 55 gallon fish tank, and a turtle. Plants. Cars.
A shack on the Jersey shore.
A new business.
And I went to the movies last week, so ha.
I am encumbered with worry about our future, about my musician son’s future, about my other son’s math tests, about the fact that I am an old mother with tiny twins.
I am encumbered with grief for what happened to my future stepdaughters.
I am encumbered with the rabid need for revenge.
I am encumbered with hope for my fellow artist friends that they will make it with enough to pay for rent and medical and dental.
I am encumbered with fear like we all are for the fate of freedom and for the planet
and, more often these days, with guilt for not doing anything much about it.
I am encumbered with about 40 extra pounds (STILL AFTER ALL THIS BLOGGING!) which frankly sucks and is frankly my own damn fault.
I asked that artist today if she loves her solitary life and her freedom.
Oh yes, she said. Mostly. Really looking forward to getting to know you.
Well my new friend—welcome to my encumbered life.
I am Lisa. Encumbered by love.