Monday, June 14, 2010

Damn Kids (4.16.09)

Kids. They complicate everything. A thousand unfinished sentences. Plans waylaid. You're puttering along, the machine of your day running smooth - then you hear a wail for the bathroom. Or food. Or there's sudden silence and you glance over your shoulder to find the toddler hard asleep in her carseat. She's sweaty and open-mouthed. Her cheeks are adorable and your elusive dream of arriving on time and drool-free slips away.

The other day I confided to my teacher friend Kerry my dream of a weeklong writers retreat.

"I knew a woman who did one of those," said my friend. "Only she had terrible writer's block. Some days she would come to dinner and say all she had been able to write was a single sentence."

I looked at Kerry in horror. Hours of uninterrupted time - such luxury! Wasted. Time is all I need! At first I thought the woman was a spendthrift - and must have been childless - what harried mother would squander the gift of time? But I squeezed out a bit of empathy for her when I considered that the distractions and constant needs of children are a kind of immoveable block too. Some days I can only write a single sentence too. At least she had the woods, the solitude and the silence. So I guess I've got writer's block too, albeit a beautiful form of it, a block that I signed up for and fall in love with again daily.

Damn kids. Just when Momma's getting on a good grump, the little one has to do her happy dance just because you found her green crayon. She cheers with her chubby little arms up in the air and you're reminded of that time not so long ago when her arms were just a bit shorter and could barely make it over her fat baby head.

Damn kids. They're so life-affirming and precious and all that. The sun's coming up, you're hanging on to the last few minutes of soft sleep and their squeaky voices and padding feet shred through your dreams and remind you of the craziness and fun you're going to have today.

Damn kids. The sky is gray and you're looking out the window brooding and your six year old walks in with the Special Surprise she's been working on behind a closed door all morning. She has drawn you a grass-skirted hula girl wearing a rainbow lei with glued-on shells at her feet and scrawled "I love you" across the top. You hug your beautiful daughter and breath the rich baby smell deep in her hair. A perfectly good gloom, dissipated. Damn.

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