In case you missed it, I’m a writer. (Shameless plug: I can now say “my book is coming out next year”!) So I was instantly drawn to a guest post by a fellow forthcoming-in-2013 author on the Power of Moms yesterday. I was so drawn to it, in fact, that I tracked down the author’s blog and discovered that we’ll be sharing a publisher (awesome!).
But even more awesome was her essay. I have been thinking about this very topic a lot. As a writer, I spend a lot of time thinking about imaginary people with imaginary problems who live their imaginary lives all in my head. Yes, it does get crowded. So crowded that I spend a good deal of time thinking about what I need to do for this story, how I’ll plot out that story, how I’ll edit another story—even when I have three flesh-and-blood (albeit quite small) people right here in front of me. Shouting at me. Tugging on me. They’re hard to forget, and yet somehow, sometimes, I do.
One of the things that astounded me as a new mother was how much my baby could need me. And he wasn’t one of those children who instantly quiets in the arms of his mother. (The opposite: he was pretty quiet in general, unless he was starving, and getting near his mommy at those times meant he was going to eat soon, SO HURRY IT UP!!)
Somehow, this little lump of a human, less expressive than our house cat, needed me all the time. For eating ever 90 minutes, yes, but somehow even then, I felt the emotional draw of his utter dependence.
My children aren’t quite so dependent on me these days—they’ve discovered the refrigerator—but still, the one thing they need the most from me isn’t games or toys or food or stimulation. What they need most from me . . . is me.
So one of the things I’m going to try to focus on this year is being more mindful of the present. We spend so much of our lives filtering our existence. I want to look up from my camera and my computer and into the eyes of my children. I might even get off the couch.
And hopefully, I’ll be able to come to the same conclusion as Jenny has:
Often days, even weeks, go by without writing a single word. Days that are full of not just the routine maintenance and care of a home and family, but with homework helping, piano teaching, baby building, book reading, game playing, story listening and many other rich and rewarding things that I’m simply not willing to give up. I will not give them up because I want to be present in my children’s lives; and because I know that in the grand scheme of things, my children, not the number of books I’ve published, will be my greatest prize.
This raising of a family is God’s work. I know this. I feel it in my heart, in my bones, and even in the very words that I write. I do not think it coincidental that those moments that have brought me closest to God are moments I’ve experienced as a mother. Writing is rewarding in its own right, but mothering? Mothering is sanctifying.
How do you focus on the present? (Or how do you dream and wish your life away?)