"Oh sh*t, I'm not done yet! Why are they up so early?!"
I wake up extra early for the silence, for the opportunity to hear my thoughts without being inundated with questions and demands. Writing is sacred to me. I can't be disturbed when I'm doing it, but it doesn't matter how many times I try to explain this to my daughters, they don't seem to understand. They just want their mommy.
So, what's a mommy to do when she's found what she loves to do, what she lives to do, and isn't allowed to do it whenever she wants?
I try to soothe the guilt, but I can't. My kids have become the interruption. It shouldn't be this way, should it?
I find myself shooing them away: "This is mommy's work time, please go do something with yourself."
My time is stretched so thin I feel like it's going to snap at any moment. Last night, I yelled at my youngest daughter. I was trying to read through a lecture for school, completely immersed and she wouldn't stop dancing around my chair.
"Go away!" I can't believe I said that. I made her cry and all she wanted was a hug. I felt horrible. Who has two opposable thumbs and is the worst mommy in the world? This gal, right here.
How do I balance all of this? How do I give everyone -- my children, my purpose and myself the attention we all deserve?
I'm not sure I have the answer, but I'm pretty sure it's impossible to balance it all.
I've paired down my life as much as I can, to the necessities and the priorities, but something remains imbalanced.
I'm going to say something that may make you gasp and choke on your coffee --
I have a favorite child.
It took me a long time to admit, but writing is my favorite child.
I'm still working on accepting this because it's socially unacceptable and makes me feel like a witch. However, since I've said it out loud to myself, everything else is taking shape around it.
My children were birthed through me for a reason. I chose them and they chose me -- this is what I believe. We all knew what we were getting into.
I'm not just a mother. I'm not here to kowtow to my daughters -- that's not our relationship, not in this lifetime, anyway.
I'm here to teach them what it means to serve this world.
Of course, I fulfill their needs, but I mess up constantly, yet I always come around to give hugs, and kiss the boo-boos, and sing our goodnight songs, and play dress up and dance party.
My kids know I love them and they also know where my allegiance lies.
My eldest daughter had an assignment at the beginning of the school year to write a summary of herself:
"I love to skate. My favorite color is orange. I am the daughter of a writer."
When I read that, I realized that she does understand. She knows I love her to the moon and back, and (not but) I have a purpose in this life that I must honor.
As I type this, I can feel her eyes and her big toe scraping my inner arch. She's hiding under the blanket at the base of my bed, watching me and listening to the keys paint the quiet with sound.
I look over at her, and we smile at each other.
She's my daughter, I'm her mother, and I'm a writer, too.