Away and not away.

The kids are shooting up. Seriously. I think it has something to do with the summer warmth; they are like the pea seedlings that I have in peat pots on my porch, stretching for the sun. They run around in our forest, on their feet which are constantly needing a new shoe size, pretending to be cats in Cat City, or werewolves. (They have no idea what werewolves are- a friend of theirs brought werewolves into the game, and I think that Kid A and YaYa think that it is a nice kind of wolf-dog.)

The kids are shooting up, and their new favorite thing is gum. Especially sharing gum. Out comes the gum package and out come all the little hands, and then there are four little jaws moving, chomping away. I particularly like Kid A's face as he's chewing gum. It's pretty grown-up, I guess, to chew gum, and he always seems pretty stoked on himself. He shoots me glances. Notice how I'm chewing gum? they say.

But yesterday there were some gum thieves that rustled through here, opened the drawer, and took the rest of the pack. They left their evidence- crumpled gum wrappers- on the floor of the house. I had a talk with the leader of the gum thief pack, about the evils of gum thievery. Also about how if you accidentally drop your gum out of your mouth while you're chewing it, you're just done. Okay? And there are ways of keeping gum in the mouth so that this doesn't happen.


Anyways. I feel rested. I've been listening, a lot. I've also been gardening, and knitting, and contemplating the life changes that are descending upon my family. I've been spending time with friends, and doing some sketches, and working around here.

I came out of my time of listening sure of a few things. One is that I am an artist and writer. These are the things that have always fed me. Soon I will be working on making more space for these in my life. Another is that there may never be the perfect balance that I'm (or any of us in this predicament are) looking for. Motherhood is a messy thing, it is relational. All relationships are messy, and especially ones with small people who have the social skills of raccoons. Always making a mess and grabbing your stuff off of the table. Parenting is an art, but it is an art along the lines of homesteading, or juggling, or being a street performer with a purple hat for change.

Writing requires solitude. It needs to be fed, there are breezes that need to come and tickle you so that your wells can be refilled, and it requires the kind of thought that is deep and hard to be roused from. Being a writer means being away, dreaming of another place, and mothering demands absolute presence.

And so there is a tension of away and not away, and I think that I need to learn to love it, rather than shrugging away from it all the time. It's something we do, isn't it? Try to get away from the things that pull on our muscles and make us work so hard. But these are the things that God brings us to shape us, and maybe I can learn to embrace that frustration that comes when I have the best idea ever, and can't find the time to write it down, or when I'm with my kids, but wishing I could finish that inspiring book.

Another thing I came away with is a really exciting idea for a story. It dropped into my lap, straight from heaven, or actually the seed of it came from the real story of a friend, which is still from heaven, in a way.

Meanwhile we are moving through summer and today I really need to get some of the seedlings replanted, and this baby blanket needs to be finished, pronto, and it's shopping day, and the kids are calling, not too patiently.