Thursday, December 31, 2009

Relative Importance

Cody and Sidney, Christmas 2009

Last night, a mixture of rain and sleet slapped at the windows, but I heard above the racket the sound of her sobs. A mother's instincts are sharp, and as I strode toward Sidney's bedroom I heard the rational part of my mind reassuring my instinctual self that nothing truly threatening could have happened. Afterall, I'd just tucked Sidney's purple comforter under her chin and splattered her face with silly kisses a couple minutes before. Still, I made it down the hall in three strides.

When I got to Sid's room, her light had been turned back on. Cody was leaning over her in the bed, stroking her face and asking why she was crying. The look of concern in his eyes when he turned them on me made my soul smile. Growing up, I always wished I'd had an older brother, someone who would take care of me. I realized I'd been imagining Cody all those years ago.

I hugged my son and thanked him for being him, and sent him back to bed. By then, Sidney was on her feet, her head tilted slightly back, her body wracked with sobs. I took her in my arms and just hugged her, realizing I'd have to wait until she calmed down a little before I'd learn what the problem was. The rain pelted the windows at a faster pace, but Sidney's tears finally subsided.

It turned out that as part of the Gifted Program at school, Sidney was responsible for reading a 300-page book over Christmas Break. I remember her complaining about the story a couple weeks ago, which she described as boring. I guess the craziness of holiday activities and cram-packed schedules made both of us forget all about the reading assignment. Until last night.

I clicked off the light and followed Sid under the covers when she crawled back into bed. We worked out a plan to get as much of the book read between now and Jan. 5th when school resumes. We're going to partner read, her reading two pages silently, then I'll read aloud for the next two pages. Every couple minutes, Sidney's little face would scrunch up again and the tears would leak from her swollen eyes. She is a child devastated when she feels she hasn't done all that she expected of herself. We whispered in the dark through each meltdown relapse, promising ourselves to do better and remind each other of the project. Eventually I felt her body go limp and her breathing deepen.

I lay there a couple minutes longer, listening. The sound of Sidney's breath, the rain on the window, and the muffled noise of the television in the next room gave me an incredible feeling of childhood nostalgia. I used to lie in bed and dream about the future. The memories were so close; it seemed like just yesterday. And then I looked through the darkness at Sidney's angelic profile. Now for my future, I want to be more like my daughter. She cares so deeply about what's happening in her life. Her commitment to the present is absolute. She reminds me of how I can be a better me.

I should sign off here......we have a book to read.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Thanks, Tonya!

It seems getting the settings straight when starting up a blog can be a challenging, tedious process. Thank you, Tonya, for helping me today!!

Where to Start When There's No Clear Beginning?

Compelled. That's how I feel these days, as if there’s something drawing me to its hiding place just over the next rise in Life's road. The attraction is strong. I’m in motion. My internal navigator, though, has closed her eyes. She trusts in the momentum she can’t understand or control. I have to follow her lead, for I know fighting it would be futile.

Here’s what I do know: When you want something very badly, so much so that you can actually see it sitting in your hands when your imagination looks down, then it will be. When I’m most in tune with the world around me, I easily perceive the signs pointing me in the right direction, toward the next goal. With that belief, that knowledge in mind, I embark on this blogging journey.

Last month during NaNoWriMo (info is below for those interested), I wrote nineteen chapters of my first novel. They are rough as a mountain river bed, but the ideas flowing through are full of energy and intrigue. My professional goals in 2010 include completing the first draft, and then working through rewrites and revisions. I may find this book won’t be marketable. But I’m compelled, (there’s that word again), to finish it. The project figures in, somehow, with the hidden thing lurking just below the horizon.

The idea for this blog came to me in the form of multiple signs woven lately into my everyday life. My good friend and next door neighbor, Miss T, blogs here. I’ve admired for a year her strong memoir-style writing and commitment to her readers, but yesterday, sitting in my kitchen, she let fly one of those signs that hit me square between the eyes. She’s decided to use the create-a-book option once a year, to archive her blog entries in book form. Brilliant! I thought. This pushed the quiet, wallflower thoughts I’d been unconsciously harboring since watching Julie&Julia over the Christmas break into the brightly lit chambers of my consciousness. Suddenly, I wanted to blog!

You wouldn’t think a creative writer would have trouble coming up with a theme for her blog, but at first I was stumped. I want this blog to have a raison d’ĂȘtre. Julie blogged her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and I wanted to have some kind of focus as well. Since the New Year is upon us, I feel compelled, yet again, to choose a resolute direction.

Each time I add an entry, I will write about one significant moment that affected me deeply. It may be something that happened in the past, but I don’t want to look back too often. Instead, I want to be present in my life, living today with open arms, open mind, and an open heart. In 2010, I want to live each day with intent. I will indulge in random acts of kindness and write about how the experiences affected me and the others around me. Through this blog, I want to become a more joyful and positive human being, and a better writer.

And so I take a deep breath, stretch my arms open wide, and begin.

Note: NaNoWrimo stands for National Novel Writing Month. hosts the contest every year, in which participants sign up determined to write 50,000 words in the thirty days of November. I learned a lot about turning off my internal editor and letting my muse run free. You can visit my NaNo profile page and read as excerpt from my book, just
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