These past couple of days, I've been trying to come up with a snazzy writing-related post, but my brain has gone numb, for a reason which I'm sure y'all will understand when I tell you... a dear friend of mine unexpectedly passed away last week, and I can scarcely think of anything else.
This friend had a true gift for words and was a much more talented writer than I could ever become, but she set aside any systematic/professional approach to her skills in favor of being a full-time mother to a large family of children (and, in time, grandma to several grandchildren as well). She was passionately in love with her family and fiercely protective of her time, refusing to indulge in anything that would unnecessarily draw her away from her children. (You know that moment when you're mumbling, "uh-huh, honey," and your eyes are glued to the screen while you are hypnotized by your Facebook feed? Or is it just me? Well, at any rate, it wasn't her. She would drop any nonessential in a blink of an eye and focus on what really mattered. She had that gift).
I talk so much of writing, marketing, publishing, etc, on this blog, that it's sometimes easy for people to forget writing is but a tiny fraction of my life. So let's get real. At this season, I spend far more time in the kitchen than writing. Or sitting on the couch nursing the baby, while checking the older children's schoolwork or reading aloud from some current favorite (right now we're deep into Harry Potter, which my kids love as much as I do).
Is this all bliss? Do I sometimes roll my eyes when a 3-year-old hollers, "Mom, I peed my pants"? You betcha. But you know what? I'm on my fourth baby right now, and though there are days that seem to stretch like chewing gum on a hot summer afternoon, in truth you just blink and they are grown before you can tell how it happened. So I'm just enjoying those precious snuggles, giggles, read-alouds, shoes on the wrong feet, and the boundless creativity of childhood.
When my kids grow up, I want them to be able to say, "Our Mom is a writer, and so when we were growing up she would make up stories for us, and draw dragons and secret maps, and teach us to really love a good book"; not "Our Mom is a writer, and when we were little she could hardly unglue her eyes from her laptop screen."
I'm not really missing anything vital in not being able to keep up with it all, all the time. Being a mother makes me a better writer. Living life inevitably makes one a better writer.
Here's a quote from my friend, who was more like a spiritual mother to me, and whom I will miss every day of my life:
"Just do the next thing, and let the next thing be loving and caring for the people in your life. Everything else can wait, and will be all the sweeter for having done so."
RIP, dear soul. Thank you for teaching me so much about what really matters in this life, and in the one beyond. May the winds speed your ship as you sail west from Grey Havens.