I used to be a writer. . .

I used to be a writer. I used to be able to string words together and have them make sense. Now my brain is jumbled in my head, mixed with toddler demands and elementary basketball and dinner and karate classes and nap time. I won’t even mention all the rest of the mess Facebook pours in there time and time again, which is one reason I’ve begun enacting long Facebook breaks. 

Once upon a very different time I wrote columns for the paper and they were filled with stories of my son. Mothers and grandmothers loved the stories. Someone didn’t and let me know in black permanent ink scrawled all over my column and shoved in the front mail slot. They didn’t care about my stupid teddy bear and no one cares about my kid they told me. I always thought it was nice of my co-workers to share that with me. I suppose they were subtly letting me know they didn’t care either. After all, one of my bosses let me know no one cares too. We had a closed door meeting about it and it was suggested I find other topics to write about. I suppose if I had rambled about politics it would have been more acceptable. It’s weird, though, years after I stopped writing and left the paper I’d have strangers tell me “I loved your columns. It made me think of my children when they were you .” 

Still, those comments, though they only reflected a few, were enough to finally send me into hiding. I hate to admit that the haters got me but each time I start to write a voice whispers to me, “no one cares.” If I try to ignore it I here “no one cares about your teddy bear and your kids.” Which is sad really, because I care about my kids and someone else cares about their kids and maybe together we can find some common ground, but only if I write something and they see it and they “get it.”

So, I’m trying to write again. Sometimes I’ll write about dumb things that someone out there doesn’t care about. I’ll probably write about my kids. I’ll probably ramble on about my old teddy bear. I doubt I’ll ever write about politics because it stresses me out. Sometimes I’m sure the voices will get the best of me and I won’t share. But sometimes I plan to shove the voices behind a closed, locked door, blast some TobyMac or Needtobreathe, and write even if I feel like no one cares.

 

“I got dreams that keep me up in the dead of night

Telling me I wasn’t made for the simple life

There’s a light I see, but it’s far in the distance

I’m asking you to show me some forgiveness

It’s all for you in my pursuit of happiness.” 

– needtobreathe 

Navigating life with “only” two children

We only have two children in our family which means getting out the door to go somewhere 45 minutes away shouldn’t be such an ordeal.

But it is.

“Do you have the diaper bag?”
“Did you get your toys together to take to grandma and grandpa’s?”
“Do you have my camera?”
“Have you seen my Kindle?”
“We’ve got everything? Ok. Let’s go.”

All in the car, engine running.
“Did I lock the door? Let me check.”

Car off. Family waits.
All in the car again, engine running.

“Did I unplug the toaster? I’m going to go check.”
Car off. Family waits. Husband back in car. 

Ten minutes away from house; “did I turn the stove off?” 

Turn around. Family waits in car. Mom decides to check the van to see if that’s where she lost a friend’s bottle of essential oil. Van locked. Mom slips and falls on her backside in mud and wrenches her shoulder.
“Stove was off.” Dad announces.

“I need the keys, I fell in the mud..” Mom says and gestures to mud smear from the top of her backside to her calf.
Back in the house to change. Then finally on the road  . . . again. Yes, like a Willie Nelson song.

A lovely day is spent exploring the woods on a unnaturally warm winter day at the parents/grandparents accept for another fall in the mud. by mom.

When it’s time to leave:
“Where are your shoes?”
“Why isn’t the baby wearing pants?”
“Do you have your toys?”
“Do you have your camera?”
“Where is the diaper bag?”
“I need to change the baby first.”
“Kiss and hug everyone good-bye.”

On the road again. Phone rings ten minutes from home.

“Did you know you left your purse here?”

Arrrrrrrgghh!!!!

 

10 on 10 February | Athens, Pennsylvania Photographer

This post is part of the monthly 10 on 10 blog circle. Be sure to catch the next photographer in the circle by clicking the link at the bottom of this post.

—-

I am convinced my children have joined forces to see who can turn my hair gray quicker. My 16 month old has been walking since she was nine months old and is now climbing anything and everything in our house.

My oldest is nine and every other night he takes cushions off couches or moves stools to make what looks like a gymnastics tumbling facility or a basic training obstacle course. 

The baby fell off the back of a chair the other night and slammed Into several of her toys on the way down. I was convinced she’d broken several ribs. She cried for 20 seconds, let me hold her for five seconds and then headed back to the chair to climb on it again.

 About a month before that she fell off the back of the couch and slammed her head off a bookcase. I knew she’d cracked her head open and blood was pouring from it. Nope. She cried for two minutes, let me hold her a few minutes and five minutes later climbed up to the back of the couch again. 

The same week of the couch and bookcase incident I found the whitest, thickest hair right at the front of the top of my head. I swear the kids sat in my son’s room, listening to me moan over it and cackled while they rubbed their hands together.

Then they planned who could come up with the most dangerous, scary, daredevil move the next time and laughed as they thought of me clutching my chest as I watched through mommy goggles.

(To continue this blog circle visit Life with a peanut and a zoybean)

10 on 10 January | Pennsylvania Photographer

It was like she had found the most exciting location in the world the way my daughter stomped her tiny 15 month old, boot-clad feet in the mud puddle in the park of a city we’d visited for the day.

We hadn’t brought extra socks so her dad and I wavered between telling her and her brother to stop playing with the icy water and not wanting to squealch their childhood fun.

Water splashed out onto the brick road and up her legs and she threw her head back and giggled.

And when she giggled her brother laughed. But with the laughter I remember tension and sadness because I didn’t let my nine year old splash as much as he would have liked. He was wearing his school shoes and we didn’t want him to get them wet and dirty.

I’m not good at being a strict parent. I’d rather be the parent who has fun and lets my children have fun, unless they are risking their safety.

I remember my son’s sad, disappointed expression on his face, the way he looked at his sister, as if to say “she can stomp in the puddle, why can’t I?” Looking back I wish I had let him stomp in that puddle. The fun of splashing with his sister was much more important than his shoes, which, if we had had to, we could have found the money to replace.

I look at these moments that leave me with a twinge of sadness as learning moments. The next time we’re near a puddle I’ll let him jump in, as I always have before and did one day after school, ignoring the other parents watching as my son jumped up and down and sat in the muddy water of a deep puddle.

Life is too short to worry about mud covered shoes and too precious to give away moments of pure joy and laughter. (Even though his shoes are these really cool light-up Batman shoes and I’d hate to have had them ruined with the muddy water, so, yeah, maybe it was OK to say no this time. Ha!)

This post is part of a blog circle with a group of other photographers. We post 10 photos on the 10th day of the month. To continue the circle visit Katie Brenkert!