NaNoWriMo Day #3
Words Today: 1709 (536 words below and 1173 words in drafts of other blog entries that are not quite ready for public consumption)
Total Words: 5226
NaNoWriMo is for me.
It is not for a novel, or even to be read (despite being put on a blog.) It is a promise to myself that I deserve to keep and I deserve to have kept.
I was heartsick yesterday, Monday, when my eldest announced his stomach hurt. This was not from an overdose of fun-sized candy bars this weekend. It was from an overdose of life these past three weeks. He is running on empty. He is my low-energy kid who needs routine and a lot of recharging time.
Having a kid home sick becomes the default priority and attention goes to that child rather than to the page. I personally also write best when I’m alone. I’m not sure why the solitude gives me freedom on the page. Maybe it’s the focus? Maybe it’s the sense of delicious self-indulgance. But it meant writing in fits and spurts yesterday, between forehead kisses and tending.
Last night, my youngest had an upset tummy, which automatically means she doesn’t go to school today. Nor should she. She will require full-frontal parenting today, and the house, it seems, needs some sort of disinfecting.
Today I will see if I can keep the promise to myself in a satisfactory way. Can I find small chunks of time? Can I write for five minutes here and there? Will I be able to write during an episode of Team Umizoomi? (Spoiler: No, I can’t) The pull of it all seems to block the flow of ideas. Or maybe the ideas need more sustained time? I’m priming a pump two or three minutes at a time. It’s tricky. I’m happy I’m determined to do it, and I’m blocking out the mounting pile of dog fuzz collecting on the floors.
My children have been sick a lot this school year, more than ever before. I am draconian about hand washing and sleep, so I have to ride this one out and re-examine the routines and diet and stress levels. I’ve had one week where kids were all at school when they needed to be since mid-September. That’s after an entire summer of health. The adrenaline-rush of the announcement (“I’m sick”), or worse, the call from the school nurse, has been non-stop. It’s depleting.
This is, as Nora Ephrom put it, the choice of motherhood. We cannot just be mothers these days. We choose it. And it is a choice we make with every interaction. We choose it at every moment, every intersection, every time we embrace the role. Every decision made for the children. Distraction free parenting? Diet? Temper management. Hugs. Trick-or-treating. Routines. These are the choices of motherhood. That is, I’m sure, part of our one-dimension appearance to the outer-world, the thing that makes the childless glaze over…because that choice? It’s exhausting and it can push away all the other parts of us, forcing it into submission, shoveling them into corners using great bulldozers of guilt. And that guilt stays almost no matter what choices you make.
And it is not fun-sized, either.
The only rule to parenting, it seems, is to FINISH.
The zen/universal joke is that you never can.
Just like writing.
Finish. Finish through the distractions.