My husband has just kissed me goodnight, “Don’t stay up late,” he says. I tiptoed across the hallway to peek into my son’s room; he slept heavily with his mouth wide open.   It was 11pm and an array of fabrics, zippers, needles, pin-cushions, yarn and crochet needles flooded our living room table. I had nowhere to rest my cup of tea so I held it tightly and slowly sipped the sweet midnight fuel that sparked the creative engine that allowed me to work on my latest project. I was designing a new purse for my on-line retail shop on Etsy called “MadebyLuella.” Hours later, I pulled the sateen covers over my head and hoped for a restful four-hour sleep, yet deeply aware of the many roles I will play the moment I arise.

Motherhood has been the most important role I’ve undertaken since the birth of my son, Samuel, who is almost eight years-old. Just like other parents, we celebrated his accomplishments. My husband and I reveled when Samuel took his first steps at 2 ¾ years old; we rejoiced when he babbled his first word at age 3 and celebrated when he read his first word at age 4, hit his first tennis ball at age 5, and wrote his full name at age 6.   However, we have also faced unique challenges. Samuel has Down syndrome. When he was 5 months old, he underwent open-heart surgery and since birth has been under the management of numerous medical, special educational and therapeutic services. As the years progressed, I worried incessantly about his health, his academic performance, his social life, and especially his future until one day I had to worry about me.

I was already then in the middle of what I now know was a progressive ailment that affected my balance, energy and mood. Ironically, the day in which I came to a peaceful realization that I had to start listening to my body coalesced at an event called, A Day of Joy in Oct 23, 2011. Special Education therapist and parent empowerment coach, Shane Kulman facilitated this unique day devoted to mothers with special needs children. I had immersed myself completely into Samuel’s life, even neglecting the basic elements of good health such as eating well and exercising. Events from that day, which included movement, musical, dramatic, and art-making activities propelled me to cry out, “Listen to me, there is something amiss!”

Mothers perform their jobs so thoroughly that we neglect our plight and well-being as individuals. A Day of Joy had unleased moments of truth that allowed me to understand that I needed to address my physical, mental and emotional well-being.  It was a long and arduous process, but a year later, November 2012, at the age of 43, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease that affects movement signified by the lack of dopamine production in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that controls motor function. Though there is medication to manage its symptoms, there is no cure. I grieved over this diagnosis in the same way that I grieved over first discovering that Samuel had Down syndrome. The things I worried about for Samuel were things I now worried for myself! I mourned the loss of my idealized future self. How was life going to be with Parkinson’s disease?

I learned early in the diagnosis to find the right doctor and experiment with different kinds of medicine to treat the symptoms associated with the disease such as rigidity of the muscles, lack of balance and the inability to walk properly. In addition, I learned to cultivate a practice of strengthening my body, mind and spirit.   A subset of that work focused on creativity, which involved finding a joyful activity that allowed me to carry peace everywhere I went.

The effects of the medication coupled with a positive attitude proved staggering for my physical, mental and creative pursuits. It was during this time that I re-discovered crocheting and painting. By February 2013, I was making scarves, by March a yoga mat holder, and by April, I crocheted fabric-lined purses. In the meantime, I was also writing my business plan for my project, Luella Adan’s artTalk. Immersed in this flow of creativity I learned to knit and embroider! By October 2013 I had also painted a series of mandalas, round images like flowers with intricate designs used for meditative purposes by monks in Tibet.

I found peace in the process of creation and received great fulfillment in the act of finishing one product. This creative journey was conceived as a means to assuage the effects my diseased self and it has impacted my life in ways I could not have ever imagined.   The hobby of making purses and painting mandalas grew into an obsession, which I turned into a constructive enterprise. In April 7, 2014, I opened my online-shop on Etsy, “MadebyLuella: Carry Peace Everywhere,” in hopes that I may find a home for each of the objects I have created.

Entrepreneur was the last word I would have used to describe myself in the past. The word connotes someone with a keen sense for business and deep knowledge of risks and profits. Recently I have come to understand the word in its original French interpretation, entreprendre – meaning “to undertake.” This definition encompasses what I believe is the key to understanding my role as both mother and entrepreneur.   It means engaging in any novel enterprise whole-heartedly, a process from which we discover and learn something new about our self and others.

Image

Entrepreneurship addresses the ways in which one undertakes the challenge of running a business but I will go out on a limb and say that we are all entrepreneurs undertaking the most serious business of all, running our lives. As the roles of motherhood and entrepreneurship intersect, I pose this question: How can one create an enterprise that will support, cultivate and encourage another person or entity’s needs while retaining one’s authentic-self intact?

I have always felt the positive impact that creativity has weighed in my life. Tonight, after my husband and my son are both asleep, I will reach out for that cup of tea to keep as my companion amidst the tapestry of notions displayed on my living room table. I will design and create the latest addition to my Etsy shop, and reflect upon the lasting rewards that will come from the fruits of motherhood and entrepreneurship.

This writer’s Bio

Luella Adan is an experienced classroom educator who honors various modes of learning and values meaningful integration of real world and classroom experiences. A passionate museum educator, she launched her own blog in the fall of 2013 called, Luella Adan’s artTalk, an initiative that promotes safes spaces for dialogue about art. http://luellaadan.wordpress.com/ Luella opened her online Etsy shop, “MadebyLuella: Carry Peace Everywhere” this spring 2014. http://www.etsy.com/shop/MadebyLuella?ref=search_shop_redirect   She is a staunch advocate for Down syndrome awareness, and currently co-chairs the Dance for Down Syndrome Fund Raising event which benefits programming at GiGi’s Playhouse, NYC. She resides in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, Michael, and their amazing eight-year old son, Samuel.

My husband has just kissed me goodnight, “Don’t stay up late,” he says.  I tiptoed across the hallway to peek into my son’s room; he slept heavily with his mouth wide open.   It was 11pm and an array of fabrics, zippers, needles, pin-cushions, yarn and crochet needles flooded our living room table.  I had nowhere to rest my cup of tea so I held it tightly and slowly sipped the sweet midnight fuel that sparked the creative engine that allowed me to work on my latest project.  I was designing a new purse for my on-line retail shop on Etsy called “MadebyLuella.”  Hours later, I pulled the sateen covers over my head and hoped for a restful four-hour sleep, yet deeply aware of the many roles I will play the moment I arise.

 

Motherhood has been the most important role I’ve undertaken since the birth of my son, Samuel, who is almost eight years-old.  Just like other parents, we celebrated his accomplishments.   My husband and I reveled when Samuel took his first steps at 2 ¾ years old; we rejoiced when he babbled his first word at age 3 and celebrated when he read his first word at age 4, hit his first tennis ball at age 5, and wrote his full name at age 6.   However, we have also faced unique challenges.  Samuel has Down syndrome.  When he was 5 months old, he underwent open-heart surgery and since birth has been under the management of numerous medical, special educational and therapeutic services.  As the years progressed, I worried incessantly about his health, his academic performance, his social life, and especially his future until one day I had to worry about me.

 

I was already then in the middle of what I now know was a progressive ailment that affected my balance, energy and mood.  Ironically, the day in which I came to a peaceful realization that I had to start listening to my body coalesced at an event called, A Day of Joy in Oct 23, 2011.  Special Education therapist and parent empowerment coach, Shane Kulman facilitated this unique day devoted to mothers with special needs children. I had immersed myself completely into Samuel’s life, even neglecting the basic elements of good health such as eating well and exercising.  Events from that day, which included movement, musical, dramatic, and art-making activities propelled me to cry out, “Listen to me, there is something amiss!”

Mothers perform their jobs so thoroughly that we neglect our plight and well-being as individuals. A Day of Joy had unleased moments of truth that allowed me to understand that I needed to address my physical, mental and emotional well-being.   It was a long and arduous process, but a year later, November 2012, at the age of 43, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease that affects movement signified by the lack of dopamine production in the brain.  Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that controls motor function.  Though there is medication to manage its symptoms, there is no cure.  I grieved over this diagnosis in the same way that I grieved over first discovering that Samuel had Down syndrome. The things I worried about for Samuel were things I now worried for myself!  I mourned the loss of my idealized future self.  How was life going to be with Parkinson’s disease?

I learned early in the diagnosis to find the right doctor and experiment with different kinds of medicine to treat the symptoms associated with the disease such as rigidity of the muscles, lack of balance and the inability to walk properly.  In addition, I learned to cultivate a practice of strengthening my body, mind and spirit.   A subset of that work focused on creativity, which involved finding a joyful activity that allowed me to carry peace everywhere I went.

The effects of the medication coupled with a positive attitude proved staggering for my physical, mental and creative pursuits. It was during this time that I re-discovered crocheting and painting.  By February 2013, I was making scarves, by March a yoga mat holder, and by April, I crocheted fabric-lined purses.   In the meantime, I was also writing my business plan for my project, Luella Adan’s artTalk.  Immersed in this flow of creativity I learned to knit and embroider!  By October 2013 I had also painted a series of mandalas, round images like flowers with intricate designs used for meditative purposes by monks in Tibet.

I found peace in the process of creation and received great fulfillment in the act of finishing one product.  This creative journey was conceived as a means to assuage the effects my diseased self and it has impacted my life in ways I could not have ever imagined.   The hobby of making purses and painting mandalas grew into an obsession, which I turned into a constructive enterprise.  In April 7, 2014, I opened my online-shop on Etsy, “MadebyLuella: Carry Peace Everywhere,” in hopes that I may find a home for each of the objects I have created.

Entrepreneur was the last word I would have used to describe myself in the past. The word connotes someone with a keen sense for business and deep knowledge of risks and profits.  Recently I have come to understand the word in its original French interpretation, entreprendre – meaning “to undertake.”  This definition encompasses what I believe is the key to understanding my role as both mother and entrepreneur.   It means engaging in any novel enterprise whole-heartedly, a process from which we discover and learn something new about our self and others.

Entrepreneurship addresses the ways in which one undertakes the challenge of running a business but I will go out on a limb and say that we are all entrepreneurs undertaking the most serious business of all, running our lives.  As the roles of motherhood and entrepreneurship intersect, I pose this question: How can one create an enterprise that will support, cultivate and encourage another person or entity’s needs while retaining one’s authentic-self intact?

I have always felt the positive impact that creativity has weighed in my life.  Tonight, after my husband and my son are both asleep, I will reach out for that cup of tea to keep as my companion amidst the tapestry of notions displayed on my living room table.  I will design and create the latest addition to my Etsy shop, and reflect upon the lasting rewards that will come from the fruits of motherhood and entrepreneurship.

This writer’s Bio

Luella Adan is an experienced classroom educator who honors various modes of learning and values meaningful integration of real world and classroom experiences.  A passionate museum educator, she launched her own blog in the fall of 2013 called, Luella Adan’s artTalk, an initiative that promotes safes spaces for dialogue about art.  http://luellaadan.wordpress.com/ Luella opened her online Etsy shop, “MadebyLuella: Carry Peace Everywhere” this spring 2014.  http://www.etsy.com/shop/MadebyLuella?ref=search_shop_redirect    She is a staunch advocate for Down syndrome awareness, and currently co-chairs the Dance for Down Syndrome Fund Raising event which benefits programming at GiGi’s Playhouse, NYC.  She resides in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, Michael, and their amazing eight-year old son, Samuel.

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