Motherhood & Words

I still think of summer as a season of down time. During the cold winter days I imagine the warmth and green and playing at the park with the girls, and somehow I equate those images with relaxation. But long gone are the days of nothing at all on my calendar, of sitting outside with a book in hand, reading for half the day. Summer with kids—and I seem to be just getting this—is not relaxing. Oh, it’s fun, and it is warm, but it’s busy. Add to this D’s schedule, which is busy from March to October, and, well, you see what I mean. Summer is not relaxing. The other day I said to someone—a barista at the coffee shop or fellow shopper at the co-op, in that Minnesota way—I can’t believe it’s already the end of July! And I had a pang then, feeling like I had not properly enjoyed the summer.

But June was consumed with my not feeling well and that odd ER scare and weaning Zoë, which sapped all my emotional energy. (Sometimes she still pulls at my shirt, then looks up and says, “No?” And the other day, after we had a shower, she made a dive for it, but then we both started laughing—it helps that she has a good sense of humor. But it’s still hard—I’m worried that I will forget what it felt like to grab her up in my arms and tuck her to my body. And I miss being able to pacify her that way, so easy, so instant. But not nursing her is less difficult than it was last week, and much less difficult than it was four weeks ago.)

July has been filled with cabin-trips on the weekends, teaching, editing, and some writing (though not too much). And now on Friday July is done. It’s flown by.

Maybe July has gone so fast because I have had my sights on August. Next week, Zoë will start at the preschool where Stella has gone since she was 16 months. They will both be there two days a week in August, and when Stella starts kindergarten in the fall (albeit only half-day), Zoë will bump up to three days a week. This transition—just another in a long line of them, I know—will be hard for me and hard for her, but it will probably be more difficult for me because she’s been dying to get onto that toddler playground for months.

It will also be amazing for me not to have to fit all of my work into nap-time and after bed-time. It will be amazing to have hours at a time in my wonderful new office. (Thank you for all your good wishes, by the way! I love it!)

I have a freelance article and an editing gig I need to finish up next week, and that will leave the rest of August—six full days (plus my morning writing time when D is in town)—to focus on my own writing (with a little time for an exciting new editing gig that I’ll tell you about soon.) But my writing will be the priority. I’ve lagged off on my revision, partly because I’ve let my morning writing time be consumed by other work, and partly because I began working on a new book proposal. But in August I’m going to refocus on Ready for Air so I can have a chunk to send my agent the first week in September. (Oh, it even felt good to write that. I need those deadlines, too.)

Years ago, I wouldn’t have thought of six full days of writing as heavenly (more like torture). But that was before children, before words became so important to me, before time became so important to me. Perhaps this my new relaxation?

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I have been teaching creative writing for almost twenty years. Reading about other women’s lives and experiences has expanded my world. To be able to walk in someone else’s shoes, whether it’s for a moment or an hour or a few days, is an incredible gift, providing me with insight into the human experience. It takes courage to write your truths, especially if it doesn’t seem as though anyone cares, as though anyone is listening. Let me tell you: your stories matter, I’m listening, and I’m here to help you find the heart of those truths, to get them down on the page, to craft them, and to send them out into the world. Together, we will change the world, one story at a time.


  1. Carrie Pomeroy on July 29, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    Good luck with that revision!

  2. Mummy mania on July 30, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    happy writing… hope you enjoy the summer. have given you an award on my blog.

  3. The Blue Suitcase on August 3, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    You have been so patient for this schedule change. Congrats to you, and way to go, Zoe! You are so grown up!

  4. cath c on August 6, 2009 at 9:34 am

    congratulations and enjoy all that writing time in your new office!