Everything is Temporary
I feel like I've heard that somewhere before...
I don’t have a lot of bandwidth today. What I do have is a nine-going-on-sixteen-year-old who is happy to earn a little cash watching her brother all week while I work. I also have a meeting in a half-hour. So whatever I type out before 2:00 is what you get.
Better get to it.
My daughter asked me the other day to take her to the mall. Ordinarily I want nothing to do with the mall, but she didn’t seem to want to do the typical mall things like shopping and wandering around aimlessly. “I just want to take my art supplies and sit quietly and work,” she said. “You can even bring your computer and work, too.” You can work is my love language these days, and she knows it. And so I agreed. She got on the trendiest outfit she could assemble, maybe even put on some makeup (her, not me), and we headed out.
We did the things we went there for. I edited some podcasts (because I do that now, didn’tcha know?) and she did some drawing and writing and my other daughter walked around and tried to find a way to spend twenty bucks. We grabbed some food and bubble tea and headed for the exit and, as if this all wasn’t enough for me to well up at the sheer grownness of these two, at the way we could just be with each other and talk and not talk and eat and walk around and they could take care of themselves and wander through the mall alone and I didn’t have to tend to them, and anyway when did that happen?? As if that wasn’t enough, my daughters got on the escalator.
That’s right, they walked right onto the escalator. One of them didn’t even hold on, full as her hands were with pizza and bubble tea. Just walked one foot in front of the other, stood there for the entire descent, and then walked right off when we reached the bottom.
I told my husband and he was just as incredulous as I.
What’s your deal with escalators? I’m sure you’re thinking, and it’s because I’ve started this story at the end when I really should have started it about five years ago when my daughter wouldn’t only not step onto an escalator, she wouldn’t walk with me onto an escalator or let me place her or carry her onto an escalator. I can still see her standing at the top of the big, long one at the airport and screaming and crying and standing right in the way of all the other folks who were trying to use it as I drifted steadily downward and, after a couple of lateral paces, right back up again to get her and find an elevator somewhere.
It was always when my arms were full, too - with luggage or food or shopping bags or whatever else one carries in a place that has escalators. She was terrified and now she’s just…not. That just happened one day, and it’s just another thing I don’t have to tend to and another reminder that this shit, this crazy that seems to have infused my entire world, while it can seem insurmountable and eternal, it is neither of those things. It’s temporary, and I’ll find a way to get through.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because the theme comes up a lot in my life and, therefore, in my writing.
Whether it’s building PDFs while my kid watches Stinky and Dirty (Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it!), or paying one of my children to watch the other one so I can keep doing what I love, or paring down my hours at work to work around the lack of childcare, it won’t be like this forever. It wasn’t the first time around, as evidenced most recently by escalators, and it won’t be this time.
JK that was my 1:45 timer, not my 2:00 timer. I’ve still got a few minutes to let you know what’s been entertaining and enlightening me this week. Oh - and an update!
I finished those little tiny finishing touches, that last 5%, on my novel. That is one of two big goals I had by the end of the summer, and I have crushed it. I feel so much better, and also eager to start outlining the sequel. Not ready to share the new title, though, since I’m not yet sure it’s a keeper.
That essay I wrote about my other daughter’s fifth grade graduation was accepted into a publication. When I have edits and a publication date, I’ll let you know!
What’s Been Entertaining Me?
Bah. My husband and TV-and-car-racing-watching partner has been out of town this week, so I literally haven’t watched anything that wasn’t geared toward a toddler. On that front, Stinky and Dirty (as mentioned above) is about a dump truck and an excavator who … I really have no idea, because I fall into a computer trance as soon as I turn it on. Blaze and the Monster Machines is a kids’ show about monster trucks and physics, which is bizarre in a cool, endearing kind of way. And Peppa Pig may have made me snort.
What’s Been Enlightening Me?
Conversations with fellow writers. I love finding people I know I won’t always agree with and then chatting with them and seeing how we can poke at the gray areas and find the edges of what we believe. I chatted with Reena of Arrivals and Departures and Minter of Dialogos this week, and we had a lovely conversation during which we checked some of our assumptions and worked on articulating some ideas.
One thing we talked about was what happens when we let our trauma define us. I talked about it a little on Facebook yesterday - check it out.
We’re going to keep working together, maybe in a little bit of a public forum - we’ll see what comes of it.
Alright, my time really is almost up now. I’m glad I got to get in touch despite the bandwidth restriction.
Take it easy,