Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Bubble

Oh, the bubble.
You don't need a degree in art history to see the symbolism in the bubble.   The delicacy and impermanence of the bubble, in its simplicity, shows how delicate and easily lost the beauty in our life can be.  The time of our earthy life itself can resemble the fleeting, glimmering, bouncing bubble.

Glass is much like a long-lived bubble.  I'm thinking about that a lot as I sit in my room listening to Bridget cleaning up the shattered pieces of glass in her room after two shelves suddenly came out of her wall and came crashing down.

We - including the Chin-Irish contingent of the family - were sitting in the living room when the most cataclysmic crash that I have ever heard happened.  It sounded like the proverbial bull in the china shop scenario.  My shock was tempered by relief that Bridget was not in her room when it happened.  That was a lot of relief!  It seems that the shelves had not been properly anchored into studs in the wall, and in Bridget's room rearranging project the shelves had become overloaded with vases, antique knick knacks (including a Spy's Demise glass from the Safe House in Milwaukee - an 'antique' from my wilder, younger days).  And something landed on her jar of nail polishes - I can smell it.

My relief is tempered with sadness.  Bridget's hands have been bothering her so much - waiting on a possible diagnosis of lupus or scleroderma - and she has been trying hard to pull things together in her room. It's not just the glass bubbles and baubles that have been shattered.  But the broken bubbles can be swept up. (There may even be another Spy's Demise glass in the back of some cabinet.)  It's the disappointments that sting. 

And as hard as it was when I was the mom who could step in and make everything better, it is harder to be the mom who can only stand by as a 'helper' while her grown children have to work things out for themselves.  This is one of those frustrating moments when I look forward to going back to work in the morning; work is where I can have some sense of control and problem solving.  And then step away from it (more or less) at the end of the day. Work is an illusory bubble unto itself.   But a mother's work is never done.  Whether it is chasing a three year old or praying for a thirty year old.

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St. Isidore Foundation

I cannot live under pressures from patrons, let alone paint.
-- Michelangelo, quoted in Vasari's Lives of the Artists

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