When I was in high school, I remember feeling sad that I wasn’t elected to the homecoming court. As if the disappointment wasn’t bad enough, what followed was a swift personal berating that I had even let myself care about something as frivolous as the homecoming court in the first place. It happened over and over again. A boy wouldn’t like me and I would feel sad. And then, I would feel angry that I felt sad, angry that I even wasted a moment’s emotion on something that in the eternal scope of things, I knew didn’t matter. I guess, in many ways, it was a good way to grow up. I probably saved my parents many a lecture. I was much too busy lecturing myself.
I’m there again. Feeling distraught and a little grumpy and knowing I need to give myself a lecture. And so I shall. Care to join me?
I don’t doubt my priorities are where they ought to be. Playing games on Saturday afternoon is important. Assisting in wooden battleship assembly, listening to Henry read Hop on Pop for the fifty seventh time, teaching Lucy how to braid, then letting her practice on my hair over and over again; these moments are real and good and necessary. I know this. I know this in the very deepest part of my mothering heart.
And yet, as I lay in my darkened bedroom tonight, at an hour far earlier than normal so my body could work a little on building a person, I longed for a little more time to write. There are so many things that I want to say – so many stories I want to tell.
I learned a few weeks ago that a handful of my essays were accepted for publication in a forthcoming book discussing the power of motherhood. The book is a project of the website, Power of Moms, a fantastic place full of uplifting and inspiring material. I am honored to be included among their book’s contributing authors.
After recently completing a class on writing Creative Nonfiction, my professor provided some encouraging and positive feedback on my final portfolio, that, when combined with my Power of Moms acceptance, had me seriously considering a book project of the nonfiction variety. So I pitched an idea to my editor. Know what she said? (In a friendly, supportive, I’m not making any promises but I think it might could work sort of way?) She said, “Write it.”
I’ve just signed and returned my contract for my first novel, and I’m working on the writing of novel #2. My brain is full of ideas for a third, fourth, even fifth novel that come to me at random times throughout the day – in the car, in the shower, in the middle of Lucy’s basketball practice. I feel as if I am on the brink – poised and ready to make a career of all these words…
Often, days, even weeks go buy without a single word written. Days that are full of not just the routine maintenance and care of a home and family, but with homework helping and piano teaching and baby building and book reading and game playing and story listening and many other rich and rewarding things that I’m simply not willing to give up. I won’t give them up because I want to be present in my children’s lives, because I know that in the eternal scope of things, my children, not the number of books I’ve published, will be my greatest prize.
This raising of a family is God’s work. I know this. I feel it in my heart, in my bones, even in the very words that I write. I do not think it coincidental that those moments that have brought me closest to God are moments I’ve experienced as a mother. Writing is rewarding in it’s own right, but mothering? Mothering is sanctifying.
And so I mother first. I mother first and write when I can and know that eventually a season will come when there will be more time – a season when the morning sickness and the diapers and the shepherding of toddlers are in the past. While I fully expect to enjoy those future days, I will not wish away today. Because here and now is where my children need me.
Present. Aware. Battleships built and hair braided.