“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” – Tom Stoppard

This is the first I’ve written since May. I had fancy plans to make it happen sometime this summer between the bottles and diapers, puzzles and sweltering mid-afternoon walks. I knew (still know) how essential it is for me to work through these words – a golden sift to shake away the distraction. Too long away and there’s only sand; tiny grains, one after another, unsettling me. Yet here I am, singing a familiar chorus: Life is busy, time is short, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah.

Truth: It’s here in these blank pages that the sacrifice of motherhood hits me hardest. It’s noble to give up so much of one’s passions for the sake of our tiniest humans, but it’s also a little sad too, isn’t it? Can I love my tribe and still feel the sting of personal loss? Am I allowed that? To mourn the martyrdom a little, to carry the unwritten words on my shoulders like a splintered beam?

Because I do, every day. I know how it sounds (lord, do I know how it sounds), but when I think of that still voice inside me, when I envision her silent face, the way she waits with graceful patience for her fleeting turn amidst the chaos, it breaks my heart a little. That’s the thing about feelings. They don’t ask for permission.

10:00. A late night patio discussion with Geoff. The streetlights have dimmed and the neighbor boy’s sixteenth birthday party is still in full swing next door. He and his friends are taking turns daring each other to jump from the second story balcony into the pool. Despite valiant attempts at persuasion, no one’s taking the bait.

What if I’m just using my family as an excuse? I say. I mean, damn. Our kids aren’t shields, they’re people. Yet every time someone asks if I’ve been writing I hear myself spewing the same scripted response: No, too busy. Hard to find time these days.

Yet it’s true. Time and energy are finite. An empty tank is an empty tank no matter which way you turn it. I can’t give 100% to the kids and the dream; at the end of the day, I must choose. The sacrifice is tangible. Maybe it’s not supposed to be, but it is. My blog, my rules.

The hollering quiets next door. They’ve given up on the high dive.

My saving grace, the story I tell myself during these crazy times to be at peace with it all, is this: These girls are my words now – today and for however long it takes. If I can’t nudge the world with a bestseller, I’ll nudge it with my children. Someday, if the busy ever recedes, maybe I’ll nudge it with both.


Chicago 2018

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