I write all day long. It starts as soon as the alarm clock goes off and doesn’t stop until my laptop and I find our rightful place on the couch each night. I write while washing the dishes, while scheduling a meeting, while helping the kids with their homework; I even find myself writing while driving. Of course, I don’t actually write while doing all of those things. I simply write in my head……all the time.
It occurs to me now that this incessant writing may border on a disorder of sorts. Hmmmm…. A thought for another day.
Anyhow….today, while making the long trek to my office, I wrote at least a dozen blog entries in my mind. Every one of them was unrelated – it was fascinating, really. My mind always wanders when I’m in the car but today was an exceptionally random day in my brain. Perhaps it was the fall-in-the-northeast view that had my neurons firing on high or perhaps it was just a busy day in my head. I can’t say for sure, but I certainly did enjoy the view.
It was only after noticing the view from my office that I started ‘writing’ about it – both the abstract and concrete view. You know, the real, bona fide colors of fall versus the philosophical, imagined view of life. Is this getting too deep? I always find the October colors relaxing and, when I’m driving, I always wish for a convertible; a car that lets me put my head back, stare up and enjoy the ride. I think it was our honeymoon when I did that last. My husband was driving (much safer to put your head back when you’re in the passenger seat), it was nighttime, we were on a one lane road beneath a tunnel of trees. Every so often, the trees gave way to this magnificent sky of stars. Best feeling ever.
Views like that don’t happen every single day. I think that’s why I find them so spectacular. That’s what makes them special, fascinating – worth absorbing. I think my life and, more precisely, my writing are like that too. There are moments – stories – that deserve to be savored. There are stories that need to be revealed with just the right words in just the right way at just the right time. That doesn’t happen every day.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
I am 253 days into my 365 day writing experiment and, today, I took a moment to look at the view. I love what I’ve accomplished to this point. I’m proud of myself for keeping my own commitment and I’m excited to have this daily record that I’ll always be able to look back on. But, I’ve noticed that I’m less absorbed in my writing than I was at the start. My stories don’t beg to be savored, they’re beginning to lose their spectacular-ness, and that’s not because I’ve lost interest. Quite the opposite. Simply put, a daily writing assignment doesn’t lend itself to being spectacular. There’s not enough time to purposefully place just the right words in just the right place when you’re writing a new story every 24 hours. But that doesn’t mean I’m throwing in the towel.
I’m looking ahead – to the view in the distance. I’m excited to begin the final 100-day countdown of my 365 day challenge, and even more excited about what will come next. A less rigorous plan, but a plan all the same. A plan that allows time between thoughts, between stories. A plan that gives me the luxury of placing just the right words in just the right place at just the right time. A plan that allows every moment – every view – to be savored. I can’t wait!
The title tells the whole story tonight. I am the default parent and so, occasionally, I need to cheat when it comes to things other than parenting.
The default parent. I heard this term and its definition for the first time today and I thought, ‘Yep, that’s me.’ I say this readily, without hesitation and with absolute certainty based on one, solitary fact: when a nightmare or illness wakes my kid(s) in the middle of the night, she walks into our bedroom, passes right by her father, treads around our bed and begins poking me. It never occurs to either of my girls to wake their father, to poke him and rouse him from his peaceful slumber. Nope. It’s always me.
I realize that none of this sounds very happy. Admittedly, there are days when being the default parent is exasperating, exhausting and even annoying. (Full disclosure: I’m having one of those days today). But, much like the author of the blog that I’m about to share with you, I do believe that having a default parent in every home is important. Most days, the title brings me a great deal of happiness because, like most parents, I absolutely, positively adore my kids and I am happy to be here, watching them grow, and fulfilling their needs….even if those needs arise at 3 in the morning.
Tonight, this default parent is passing the buck. Tonight, you should all read this wonderfully written blog by M. Blazoned of the Huffington Post. Apparently she has been spying on me and my family because – wow – she nailed it! Enjoy….
I’ve had days, weeks – even months – during which I felt as though I was living on another planet. Days that made me feel as though I was surrounded by aliens from some foreign universe. Weeks that had me spinning in circles, desperately searching for someone – anyone – who might understand my language, my land. Months that made me wish that I could be transported to some parallel universe – a universe that offered me a small break from constantly looking around and quietly whispering WTF over and over again.
Ever have those days?
I’m entering week two of living on foreign soil but, this is a completely different galaxy than the one I just described. I’m almost afraid to talk about it for fear that I might jinx myself and be dropped back into WTF Land. But I have to share!
For the last two weeks, every request I make is met with a resounding yes. Every best case scenario that I wish for comes to fruition. Every star seems to align. The universe seems to be granting my every pleasure. It’s beginning to make me a bit giddy.
I might test my luck tomorrow and ask the universe to grant my wish to become the next lottery winner. Is that pushing it?
My 11 year old came home from school last week stressed out and needing answers. “Ebola is in New Yooork,” she half screamed and half whined.
Good lord, I thought. I hate middle school and all of the unfiltered knowledge that comes with it.
One of her teachers shared the news of the latest ebola victim: a doctor, now living in New York City, who recently treated patients infected with this miserable disease. “I’m scared,” she said. “What if Daddy catches it at work?”
And so began the third in a series of conversations with my children about this unheard-of-until-now disease and the hysteria that it has created.
First, I should probably disclose my unfiltered thoughts on the subject. I liken this to a herd of elephants fearing for their lives when a mouse shows up in their habitat. The elephants are more likely to trample one of their own than be hurt by that little mouse. Anyone with me on this?
There are epidemics in our wonderful country but I, personally, don’t believe ebola is one of them. My children are more likely to face a gun-wielding classmate in math class than they are to catch ebola. That’s a scary fact. But, we will inevitably fret over the spread of ebola while arguing the rights bestowed upon us by the second amendment; the people on the right will run further to the right while the people on the left move further to the left. All the while, our kids will somehow avoid this plague known as ebola, but continue to be shot at point blank range.
Ho-hum. Someday I will rule the world and sanity will prevail.
I needed to get all of that out before getting to the happy – or funny – part of today’s post. Here goes.
My husband was miserably sick on Saturday and has been feeling awful ever since. That’s not funny but, you must admit, it is an impeccably timed illness. My 11 year old, obviously disbelieving all of my ebola-related conversations, began to fret. Last night her fears bubbled over and she simply had to ask, “Does Daddy have ebola?”
It took a tremendous amount of self restraint to keep from laughing, but I managed to contain myself. I assured her that her dad definitely did not have ebola, and I tried to convince her that this was a fear that she should let go of. I’m not convinced that she has taken my advice, but she did go to sleep. Win! And, today, my husband went to the doctor where my non-medical diagnosis was confirmed: he does not have ebola. He simply needs to drink more fluids and get some rest.
I’m fairly certain that I can speak for myself and for my children when I say, ‘Boy, I’m sure glad that Dad doesn’t have ebola.’
Our annual Halloween festivities are in danger of being canceled this year. A slow moving town approval process has stalled the installation of our new boiler and hot water heater. Turns out Halloween is our first possible hope for warmth and hot showers. Hrumph. But it is still Halloween and there is still work to be done – pumpkin carving being the most important task on the list.
My oldest daughter sketched out the carving, my husband carved it into the pumpkin and my youngest daughter happily scraped the seeds and guts out of our big, ol’ jack-o-lantern. As the official photographer, I – of course – had the most difficult job.
Oh, I just love Halloween!
Family. You don’t get to choose them. You don’t get to decide who your mom will be, who your dad will be and how many – if any – siblings you’ll have to put up with. You just show up in the world one day and BAM! You are surrounded by these people who claim you as their family. You have absolutely no say in the matter. You simply get what you get and you don’t get upset.
I spent the evening with my family last night.
Last night would have been the 248th day of my 365 day blog experiment but, alas, the people who claim me as family kept me from writing. It was my mother’s fault, really. She beckoned us all home to celebrate the fall birthdays – mine, my dad’s, my sister-in-law’s and my brother-in-law’s. They forgot to include my name on the cake, but no hard feelings. I cut myself the largest piece and, when my sister wasn’t looking, I licked her spoon to get even. We discussed ebola in New York and cursed the infected doctor who undoubtedly infected his girlfriend after having sex with her upon his return from Africa.
The kids really enjoyed that conversation.
We talked a lot about Amish people and we argued over whose gift to my father was the best. My brother, with my mother staring adoringly at him from across the table, showed up with a neatly stacked and packaged pile of boxes. Of course, we let him believe that his was the best present.
I could tell, though, that my dad liked mine waaay better than anyone else’s.
My sister showed up with this crazy card. This one here with the pigs stuck in those clamps. The message inside read “If you’re happy and you know it, clamp your hams.”
Yep, they’re all mine. I certainly didn’t choose them…..but they do make me pretty happy.