Is it too late for me to start (again)?
It’s easy to shove something under the rug and after some time say, it’s too late to make it anyway. I’ve done that… countless times with countless ideas…
Here, in the Netherlands, birth cards are an essential and natural part of a new baby’s arrival. Just as natural, as the growing belly and feeling the baby move. After a baby is born, family and friends receive a card, announcing the arrival of the little one.
Since I’d been living in the Netherlands for more than 5 years when I got pregnant with our first child, the idea of a birth card came to me automatically. That’s what everyone did around me, so I would do the same. And being an illustrator meant that I’d – of course – illustrate that card.
I had an image already in my head and got to the point of a tiny little sketch. But there were some difficulties. My husband and I are both foreigners, both from a different country, living abroad and with some close friends from again other countries. That’s 4 languages that we speak among family and our closest friends. In the midst of pregnancy, moving a house and trying to keep up with building my illustration work, I just didn’t want to deal with this problem. I was shoving it under the rug, so to speak. And when my oldest arrived several weeks too early, life was more about survival than creating birth cards.
Weeks passed, than months. My son was not a new baby any more. So you can imagine, I thought it was too late to make a birth card. I thought I had missed my chance.
When I got pregnant for the second time, I had an image in my had again. But since I didn’t do a card the first time, I felt that it would be unfair to do it this time. So I didn’t.
Fast forward 4,5 years. I found that first little sketch, on the back of an envelope. I stared at it for a second, thinking about the great memories of my first pregnancy. This little image took me back to the excitement of all the new experiences and hopes for the future.
That moment, I decided that it wasn’t too late. I was going to make the paintings. Not for sending birth cards, but just for the boys to hang in their rooms. Of course, deciding to start something is always way easier than actually do it. I fought through some difficult feelings.
“Is it going to be nice enough to frame and hang up?”
“Can I still paint well enough after all these years of break?”
“Are these images actually fitting the boys’ personalities?”
“Is this even a good idea?”
“Maybe I’m just wasting my time…”
“Would it even make a difference if I finished the paintings or not?”
I decided to just push through. Mainly because those projects are taking up some mental space. It’s not like I’m thinking about them all the time, I’m not obsessing about them. But they sit in the back of my mind, like those irritating, red lights in your hotelroom, when all you want is sleep.
Looking back now, finding that sketch gave me a great opportunity. It gave me that little push to finally stop making excuses, stop saying “someday” and start turning my idea into reality. So far, I have the finished, detailed sketches. The next step is to transfer those on aquarelle paper and paint. But that’s for another post. I want to have them ready for our new house, where the boys will have a fun new room. They will fit perfectly, I’m sure… I’ll show you the pictures when they are ready.
Until than, keep creating! And reach out, I love talking to like-minded people.