Pandora’s Lunch Box

Since last week’s Momming Around post was abandoned in favor of self-congratulation, let me offer a few actual momming tidbits here.

  1. Baby-to-be is a boy! We’re all excited, even Z, who said she wanted a sister. I’d kind of enjoyed thoughts of two little girls with that sister relationship I never had, but I’d also wanted a boy, so…yeah. Happy either way.
  2. Z’s lunch box is absolutely disgusting. While my morning sickness is mostly gone, I still have gag-moments. Opening up her lunch box today was one of those moments. Her school has a policy of kids taking home their leftover lunch, so parents/caregivers can see how much their child is actually eating. It’s a nice idea, and gives controlling, obsessive parents one extra bit of control. However, the sight – and scent – of a day-old cream cheese-and-jam sandwich had me gagging. Z had to take a break from breakfast to dump the offending food in the trash. Note to self: deal with lunch box as soon as Z gets home. The problem is, I put it off because it’s disgusting, and I never know what I’m going to find.
  3. Next week, she’s off from school. But Homes still has work, and there are currently no grandparents volunteering to come ease my pain. Am I a horrible stay-at-homie for considering the option to pay extra for a day of childcare next week? $30 for one day really isn’t so bad. Today is the last day to sign up.
  4. I’m awful. We’ll do play dates and get the house ready for Christmas instead.
  5. We’ll hate each other by Christmas.
  6. No. I will a) go to bed early each night, b) plan outtings to friends’ houses, the grocery store, the library, and wherever else I can think of, and c) liberally self-medicate with chocolate ice cream in the evenings.
  7. It’ll be fine. Really.

Writing Prompt: Found Letter

Recently I started following the YA Muses blog, after I met Katy Longshore at a local get-together. The prompt is this: “At a used book sale, you purchase a leather-bound volume. At home, you thumb through the pages and an old letter tumbles out. What does it say? Write the letter.”

Here’s my response to the prompt.

*

I knew you would find this letter if I hid it here, among the books you call friends. You can’t look at a book without picking it up, thumbing through it, getting pulled into story.

You call these books “friends” and I imagine your surprise when one of them betrays you with this note.

Because the stories are the problem. A woman obsessed, you cannot stop. You paused briefly to give birth, but before your daughter was even weaned, already the pen, the paper, and the book were there, open before you while she slept at your breast.

No one needs to tell you these years are fleeting. You watch them scream past, measuring them in unsellable manuscripts, pausing to breathe and scream back only if something, or some little person, dares to disrupt your solitude, silence, sanctuary.

The guilt of the time you take for your failings is heavy indeed. No wonder you take photographs, evidence of what time you do spend with her, hoping that those frozen memories will be enough to convince her, when she’s older, that everything you did, you did for her. That it was always about her, never you.

Let me tell you a secret: the dedication at the beginning of your manuscript – published, unpublished – will never be a substitute for you.

Put down the pen, and play with your daughter.