Tag Archives: family

Submitting

What I did last week while The Husband met Joss Whedon
What I did last week while The Husband met Joss Whedon

The dust is settling from The Husband going to San Diego Comic Con, and I finally have some time to blog.  The week he is gone seems longer than it is, but as it is his only business trip each year, we manage.  It’s a pretty cool business trip all told. I mean, hanging out at Comic Con is a pretty good work day.

Before he left I spent some time polishing up the short story I had been working on and I pulled the trigger and submitted it to two magazines.  That was the most nerve wracking thing I have done (aside from making dentist appointments) in a very long time. You wouldn’t think sending bits of text out into the wi-fi ether would be cause for nerves, but it was.

And then there’s the waiting.

One magazine says they will get back to you in 8-10 weeks.  The other didn’t say at all.

I submitted 10 days ago, so I have a while to wait.  I might have clicked on my Submittable account a few times….and the junk folder in my email is the cleanest it has ever been.

Finding places to submit my work is a challenge.  I don’t have the money to subscribe to all the literary magazines, and I rarely have the time to browse the magazines at Powell’s for longer than it takes for one of my kids to holler, “MOOOM!” at me. Someone pointed me toward Duotrope, and it looks amazing.  I have only begun to poke around it to see what it can find, though I haven’t signed up for an account yet, as it is a pay service.

Revisions on the book are going slowly. One of the problems I have faced since having children is that sometimes, they use up all the focus and creativity I have for the day. By the time we get to bedtime, there’s nothing left to offer. I think this is a common problem for parents, mother types especially.  Sometimes I read a couple of paragraphs and make a couple notes, and other times, I watch X Files on Netflix.

I need to pick a time where I can block off writing time and protect it. I can squeeze in a bit here and there, but not in the amount of time it needs to have dedicated to it. While the sliver of time after bedtime is good for doing small bits, it is also the time when I am most likely to fall asleep myself.  I also have found that drawing or painting comes easier to me when I am trying to clear my mind for sleep as well.

Do you have a creative pursuit and kids? What time of day do you find most conducive to working on it? How do you guard that time?

Moving vs. Fleeing

I chose a word to represent what I wanted to do this year. This is only the second year that I have done this, having thrown resolutions by the side of the road long ago.  A word, though, that is something I can refer back to, to see if big changes (or small) are keeping me going in the manner I laid out with my word.  This year’s word was “moving.”

For me, this word means moving forward, keeping up momentum from last year, and hopefully, moving house. It also means moving my body, an area I have been rather underfunded in this past couple of years.  But mostly, it means to not get stalled, to not get into that holding pattern that is so alarmingly easy when you have small children. Even more easy when you homeschool them.

Keeping moving for me means facing a lot of fear, and a lot of doubt about myself and my ability. It means confronting the idea that I deserve something, or that I am good enough for…well, anything. It means overcoming the urge to sit still.  I didn’t choose the word lightly, I know what a challenge it is going to be to keep moving this year. The downhill slide of last year had a lot of momentum, but I have found myself running into the wall of fear and doubt quite a lot recently.

When I bring up moving, especially among people who know about my current house, folks get excited.  They offer insight and opinions and helpfully look for houses online.  They tell me about realtors, and lenders and what their brother’s cousin’s wife’s sister did to get out from under their mortgage.  They talk to me about renting this place out and how easy that would be. Or they tell me I should just find someplace to rent for us.  I think that real estate might offer up only slightly fewer opinions that being pregnant.

And I listen.  And I explain our situation.  And I feel like I am that person who just says “No, I can’t!” over and over again.

But, as I have thought about the idea of moving (in all its facets) recently, I realized that a lot of people aren’t moving in a planned manner, but fleeing. And I realize that a lot of my moves have also been fleeing. Running like hell to get to the next thing, and landing where I end up – not always where I wanted to be.

I want to move out of this house. I want to live somewhere quiet, with a yard, and with no attached walls. But I am also realizing that I need to move, not flee.  Fleeing was how we landed here, moving out of our rental a month before Bee was born, and trying desperately to find a house. And in that dwindling time before the baby made her appearance, we felt pressure to make a move whether we were ready or not. Fleeing to find shelter before we needed it.

I think that a lot of life’s decisions are made in just this manner.  Fleeing before some oncoming thing, rather than planning out the steps. I get it. I have done it more times than I can count, and probably a few I don’t think about. This year though, I want to move, in a directed fashion, in a planned manner. I don’t want to flee.

It is very easy in this time and place to find a quick way to do something. It is easy, now more than ever, to flee – and to keep doing it until something catches up. It is harder to wait when you want a change, to watch and weigh options, to hold out even when you hate it.  But I think that it will be worth it in the end to move forward one small step at a time, walking, not running.

Begins with ‘m’

The only thing I can think of is Mama.  Life is so wrapped up in that aspect of my being right now that it is the only thing that comes.  Well, monkey did too, but I honestly couldn’t think of anything to write about a monkey.  I did think about describing the Littlest Pet Shop monkey we have, but being so small, that wouldn’t take long.  It is purple, by the way.

Mama is the thing I wanted to be most of all. After a certain point that is.  I also wanted to be a model (at age 13…), and an artist, and a writer and finally a professional stage manager.  I managed that last one. There’s an M word…manager.  I am a very good manager. I can take a lot of things in stride, and sort through chaos pretty neatly.  I even won an award as a manager.

But Mama…now that is something else entirely.  From the beginning the journey wasn’t easy. After years of constantly being worried about accidentally getting pregnant, it turned out I was infertile.  And husband was sporting a few million less sperm than he ought to. We tried to get pregnant. Then we went to a doctor and had tests.  Then we tried some more things to get pregnant, finally succeeding after nearly 4 years, and we had a baby.  A brilliant, gorgeous, blue-eyed baby girl. She was the best and most important thing that ever happened to me. She still is.

Being a mama was a challenge, but a good one. One that made me grow and stretch and that felt fulfilling. I loved it. My daughter and I were incredibly close. It was joy to be with her and watch her learn. We came up with adventures to go on and things to do each day. When she reached 5 years old, I knew that we would homeschool because I adored being around her. I love teaching her and watching her discover things. I love listening to her narratives.

And I thought that was it. That was my picture of Mama. Me and my girl.

And then…turns out infertile doesn’t mean sterile. After years of knowing we couldn’t conceive on our own and years of thinking that we would need help and a lot of money to have another child, after wrestling with the fact that we only got to do this whole journey once, after coming to terms with that and being okay with that…after all that (roughly 6 years of all that) it turned out I got to be mama again.

She arrived fast, and with a full head of dark hair.  She was a surprise in every way possible, from the hair, to her size, to her dark eyes, to how angry she got.  Born in Leo, in the year of the Dragon, and she was going to let everyone know it.  Everything was different with this baby.  It was not a peaceful gazing at the baby and becoming a mom.  I feel like I was still slightly surprised by her until she was nearly 6 months old. She had a tongue tie and a lip tie that made it hard for her to get enough milk at first, and she would get a lot of air when she nursed.  This made her gassy, and hungry and MAD. So mad. I was shocked by her arrival (40 weeks is not enough to get over nearly 10 years of infertility), and then shocked that she was always upset.  Except for the brief hours when she was sleeping. It was nothing like the mama I had envisioned.  It was hard, and exhausting and finally at 4 weeks old we got her tongue tie clipped and everything seemed to let out a breath.

Here we are now, big kid is 7, and tiny is 15 months (as of yesterday). Mama looks a lot different from here.  Mama is tired.  Mama is trying. Mama frequently finds herself short tempered and stressed out. Mama is trying to not yell.  Mama is trying to learn new languages to speak to her kids the way she wishes she had been spoken to.  Mama is trying so hard to let her girls know she is there for them. Mama is being a mama.

That is the only M word that comes up for me because it is so much of me.  There’s another M word: ME. These days, Mama and Me are one and the same.

following the daily prompts for November from Writealm.com

Find the language

Finding the language. This is my fight right now.  Finding the language that will convey what I am feeling, that will make people sit up and notice, that will relay a message.  I feel like right now everything I say is bogged down.  Either in trying to not blame someone (or make sure they don’t feel blame), or in trying to translate into 7yo-ese, or toddler-ese, or just because I don’t have the words.  I have always been confident in my ability to communicate clearly.  I can illustrate and teach, give examples and craft words. But now….right now…everything seems sticky. LIke wading through tar. All the things I am trying to remember are cramming up into the same small chute, trying to come out in an organized manner and get themselves HEARD, DAMMIT!, and instead I end up with word salad. I use words too big for my daughter to understand, and she tunes me out.  I ask unreasonable things of my baby and she gets frustrated. I try to convey what I am feeling to my husband and nothing registers. Is it me? Is my universal translator broken? Am I really, finally not making sense?

Where is the language that can convince big kid how much I love her? How much I think she is the most awesome and lovely and kind and smart girl I have ever met. That I think she is incredibly talented and that I hope she chases her dreams down and sits on them until they give. That I want her to be happy more than anything.  That I miss the time with her when it was just us and we were a team.

Where is the language that will let my toddler know that she is an amazing surprise and every day I fear I won’t have enough time with her to get to know her.  That all I want to do is cuddle and hang out and love on her.  That when she gets so frustrated that all she can do is cry, I want to move the world out of her way and make it better. That her hugs and kisses make my world right.

Where is the language that shows my husband that I am running on the edge? That the juggling act I am performing is in dire danger of falling to the ground. That each day seems a bit harder to get everything done. The language that explains how much I feel like I’m missing with my kids each day trying to manage it all, and how much it hurts my heart when I have to juggle the kids to do something I hate. How do I find the words to let him know that I know work is hard on him too, and I miss him and I’m sorry I complain so much?

Do they know? Is any of the language being found?

following the daily prompts for November from Writealm.com

Regret(s)

I used to say I didn’t have any regrets. That every single think I had done had move me to where I was, made me who I was. I still stick to that – mostly. I never saw the point in spending a lot of time regretting what I had or hadn’t done. I couldn’t change it, I could only move forward.

Even now most of my regrets are about smaller things. I regret not saving more money, or using my credit cards too much. I regret not getting good grades in high school (and college). Small things in the grand scheme. Things that can’t be changed, and that I didn’t need to dwell on.

But there is the one thing that I have come to regret. While I was pregnant with Tiny, the situation in my house changed pretty dramatically. And it wasn’t awesome. For me, for Big Kid. I was not the mom I wanted to be, and I am still getting my parenting legs back after that. But the thing I regret is that the last 6 months I had with just Big Kid was derailed and (I hate this word, but it fits) ruined. I was focused on things that were ultimately not my problem and shouldn’t have been my focus. I can’t get that time back ever. I can’t go back to it just being me and Big Kid and have those months back. And I bitterly regret that. It is going to be a while before I can forgive myself for making the decisions that led to the situation.

I dislike having regrets. I feel like I need to make up for it, to fix it somehow. It feels like a weight that I have to carry around with me all the time. All interactions with Big Kid are weighed on that time, and how much I failed her, whether or not she is mad about it, if she will remember it. I can’t change it, but I haven’t quit figured out how to let go of it yet either.

following the daily prompts for November from Writealm.com