THE BLOG

Missing My Muses -- The Beauty of Family Noises from a Writer-Parent Experiencing Too Much Solitude

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I am missing my family. They are at a Buddhist camp in New England, they have no cellphone signal, and I haven't spoken directly with them for 8 full days.

Have I said that I am missing my family? Achingly. I'm a train wreck without them.

I'd thought that, duped myself into thinking dreamily that, with my family away, I'd get so much more work done. That it'd be a mini vacation of sorts, a time to write whenever I wanted, without interruptions. A time to catch up on so many delayed projects.

But it turns out I like interruptions. Turns out I can't live very well, can't create very well, without them, at least, without interruptions of a family sort -- that I thrive better when I have to block out the sounds, rather than am greeted with total silence each day.

I miss the sound of, yearn for the sound of, my children laughing, crying, bickering (a rare but endearing occurrence), talking, playing music (Cali the clarinet, Cybele the drums and piano), baking, creating (paintings, toys, swinging and shrieking on the swings outside. You name it, I miss it. Whatever sounds they make. Miss the pitter patter of Cybele's feet as she tries to keep up with her big sister. Miss her screaming whenever Cali has a friend over and they appear (mistakenly, it always turns out) to exclude her for a nanosecond.

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Big sister, my first born, Cali. The person who brings me my first cup of coffee each morning of her own enthusiastic volition. Who brings me my coffee with an enormous smile, brighter than the sun. The person who enters my office later in the day, sits down at her own desk, and joins me, a fellow writer, without making a peep.

Missing missing missing her.

Cali has always been very tied to her Mommy's apron strings. But since she was a baby, whenever she has understood that her Daddy is going to be away for a stretch of time, she all of a sudden only wants to be with me. (I'll never forget the first time I came back home after being away for about 10 days -- I have never seen such a joyful child in my life, never been part of such a beautiful reunion; and when I even went outside for a moment over the days proceeding this trip, my then 13-month-old would scream to high heaven, thinking that Daddy was going away again.)

This time, it was her turn to go away. A first. That night, she crawled into my side of the bed, hugged me tightly, and fell fast asleep, never letting go of me for the entire evening. I didn't sleep a wink. I was mindfully enjoying her embrace, knowing that the following morning at the wee hours she would be on her way with Mommy and Cybele on a big adventure to New England.

I haven't spoken directly with Cali since. I miss her voice, miss everything about her. Miss her Mommy and little sister.

Cali told me just before leaving, "Daddy, just take it one day at a time, and before you know it, we'll be back!"

Wise, wise counsel from my muse, and comforting. But now I've reached my threshold, my absolute limit for missing my family. I can't stand being away from her, from my family, for another second. I've discarded an essay i was going to write on the joys of solitude. Solitude, schmolitude. I want family noise. It's a kind of disequilibrating inspiration (how's that for a characterization) that I realize now is the bedrock of my writing.

If I wasn't so broke, I am sure I would fly to Vermont this very instance. Instead, I am writing here about how much I miss them, how much I yearn to have my little muse greet me with a cup of coffee and then join me in our shared quest to put words to blank paper (wish I had her facility for doing so, but at least I have the honor of being in her company).

One thing's for certain -- the next time Cali is playing her clarinet at all hours, the music breaking my concentration as it blasts through our 'open design' house, I will never ever, ever again ask her to stop. Never ever ever. I will appreciate her soulful attempts at making music like never before, and will learn how to write in harmony with her hours and hours of practice.

I cannot wait for the moment that my house is again filled with delirious, joyful, exasperating family noises, so I can get back to work, be 'as one' with the noise, and never ever again make excuses that that precious noise is somehow keeping me from advancing in my craft. I know better now.