Today, out of nowhere, Elisha said, “You’re a great storyteller, Mama.”
Tonight Natasha saw me starting in on cleaning the kitchen while she was on her way to bed.
“Why start cleaning now?”
“I just finished a novel,” I said. “I have energy now.”
“Oh,” said Natasha. “That makes sense.”
Another time recently, I asked Melody what story she wanted to listen to, and she said, “Tell us more of your novel!” (I’ve read them bits from Shadow Swan and Lindorm Kingdom.)
Being understood by my children is a beautiful thing. They are proud of me, of my writing, and I can only begin to articulate how much of a gift this is to me: it. is. huge.
People used to frame my writing in competition with my children.
My enthusiasm for NaNoWriMo and its “treatment” potential (I’ve used the daily goals for depression management in Novembers) was met with the emotional equivalent of a bucket of cold water. More than one person questioned the adequacy of my devotion to my children if I was engaging in this demanding activity (writing with quotas and deadlines).
Such undermining behavior made my automatic language about each piece (“a fourth child”) feel even more scandalous — though no less true.
Each is like a newborn in the beginning, with growing and changing “demands” as the project matures.
Then during 2013 NaNo we had a physical 4th child in our home for 44 days, with no jealousy or angst.
Just tonight I realized that’s how my children take my writing, too. The fourth child.
It’s not a competition, it just *is.*
Sometimes (most of the time) it’s a baseline not worth mentioning. Then there are these moments of understanding, or vicarious pride.
And these moments when they connect– when they play at it themselves– it’s like a toddler picking up a baby doll after mama has a newborn, and surprising me with their tenderness and skill.
I am so thankful to be a Writer Mama.