In case you missed it, last Monday was Diabetes Art Day. Diabetes Art Day is an annual art-making initiative created by Lee Ann Thill. She invites the diabetes community to make art about diabetes and share it online. The artist and art teacher in me loves this day. It’s an awesome concept and from what I saw in the Diabetes Art Day galleries, creativity was buzzing.
Even though I’ve been making art about diabetes for several years, I never created a piece on Diabetes Art Day. This year, Diabetes Art Day inspired me to make something new.
When I began working, I had no Big Idea – no final product in mind. All I knew was that Maya was napping and I had exactly one hour to be productive.
I gathered paint, markers, and glue, and set them on the table next to my easel. What else could I use?
My eye caught an old A1c record that had been hanging on my fridge. My doctor had given me a copy when I scored a five point something. It’s printed on a piece of paper that looks not unlike a taxi receipt. I moved the magnet, picked up my A1c, and carried it over to my pile of art supplies.
I also knew that I wanted to include test strips in my work. I opened up my meter case and retrieved the used ones that I had dropped in the side zip compartment. I think they were happy to be saved from their fate in the trash can.
Once the materials were set out in front of me, I had a loose framework formed in my mind. Mixed-media. Abstract. Shapes. Paint. A1c. Test strips. Words. Those were the elements I would include in my art. But what would bring them all together? Where was my focus?
“Eh, eh, eh.”
Maya woke up from her nap.
I felt frustrated because I needed more time! I stood up and headed down the hall to pick Maya up. When she saw me, she said “Meh,” which I’ve taken to mean Mom, and my heart melted. I didn’t know if I’d return to the project.
It was another snowy day. Not ideal for a stroll. So I made lunch for the little lady and myself. Then we read stories and had some solid playtime on the living room rug. By late afternoon, Maya was tuckered out and ready for her afternoon nap. This was the second hour in the day that I had a chance to be productive. With the seconds ticking away, I had to decide how to spend the hour:
Write a lesson plan for school.
Make baby food.
Modify my basal rates.
Continue working on my art project.
I thought about my list of things to do and how my time always seems to run out. On any given day, my to-do list remains with items unchecked. Eventually the clock strikes midnight and my body fills with sleep. Artist, Keith Haring, once said, “I wish I didn’t have to sleep!”
And then I knew.
I would continue working on my art project, and my art project would be about The Time.
My issues with time are not mine alone. We live in a busy world and we all have responsibilities. As a parent, I’ve watched my responsibilities grow and my personal time diminish. And yet. While Maya consumes a lot of my time, it’s the best time spent! It fills me with joy. I want more time with her. And I want it to slow down because I don’t know how it is that she is almost one year old.
Diabetes is another huge responsibility that sits high on my priority list. But my time spent with diabetes is unlike my time spent with Maya. I want less of it. Because it’s a drag. It tugs my strings. It’s always time to do something.
check my blood sugar.
prick my finger.
change my site.
go to the doctor.
pop a glucose tablet.
stop eating cookies.
How about Time For A Cure!
My art piece for Diabetes Art Day is a reflection on the time. It’s called “Time To…” It represents the face of a watch. A watch that’s glued to my wrist.
Please forgive me for posting it late. I was short on… time.