The smudges on my living room window are staring me down. From my perch at the kitchen table, I am making a valiant effort at tuning out the world, Mumford pumping through ear buds, all my children sufficiently occupied. Only, my attempts at sufficiently occupying them don’t seem to be sufficient at all, and so the threats have begun.
“Go have your quiet time, or else…” I growl. And then 3 minutes later, the fact that my kids aren’t the least bit scared of me is confirmed with yet another display of amnesia.
“I forget, what’s quiet time? Can I have a snack at quiet time? Is quiet time over?”
Such is the life of a mother/writer.
It’s not their fault and I know that. I know they are used to the version of myself that I’ve shown them. Since they joined up with us, I’ve lived but to serve. I’ve never worked out of the house, and I’ve had precious little social life. Hobbies have been of the reading and more reading persuasion, usually on the couch amidst the chaos of family life. I’ve never been unable to set aside whatever I’m doing to jump when they call, get the drink, fix the toy, play outside.
Their response is normal because they don’t know any more than I do how this will all work. That, and they’re kids. Three minutes feels so much longer in their world.
But, I’m trying. I’m trying because today I made the discovery that there has been a file titled “Writing” on every computer I’ve owned since 2001, the year I bought my first computer. Minus a short stint at a blog, I’ve never shared those files and documents with anyone. I’ve been writing consistently, obviously harboring a secret “writer” persona for 12 years. And that is just too long to keep such a secret.
So today, I’m ignoring the smudges, despite the fact that any other day of any of the last 12 years, I would have set aside this silly writing thing and hurried to clean those haughty and taunting smudges and streaks. Today, I’m doing the thing I’ve been doing in secret for over a decade. And I’m doing it outl oud.
And these, these are the days to remember. Because they hurt, they’re a breaking of the skin that I’ve worn for so long. And the truth is, I’m not at all certain that I’m doing the right thing, but I know I’m doing the thing that I believe is the right thing. I’m doing the honest thing, the thing that tells my kids that the world is big and wide and there is much to do.
We all have work to do. And I never want them to think their particular work should be designated to some secret file tucked away. I want them to live honestly, richly, out loud. I want them to believe that what they have to offer the world is absolutely vital. And I want to see them work hard to develop it, to honor the trust that has been placed in them, to offer their work humbly to those who need it.
I want to remember these days so that I can see where we came from, how the words grew and I stopped hiding.
I want to tell a different story, a story that changes their story all the days of their life.