Now that I’ve survived the trauma of Boo heading off to kindergarten, my daily focus has changed a wee bit. Now, rather than answering questions and playing Candyland, I can spend my time doing what I have wanted, all my life, to do.
I can write.
I have this amazing thing: TIME.
I can taste it. I can touch it. Like a gift-wrapped, tangible presence: TIME.
And, of course, I face the huge question of how best to spend it.
This means I can choose to drive into town, and, if I do, I can stop frequently along the 20-minute drive to take photographs, I can stop for minutes on end to capture the Blue Herons that fish along the shallow lakes and no one will fuss that they’re hungry, tired, or bored.
This also means that I can sit around in my pajamas all day and no one will ever know. Except perhaps the UPS man, but he usually comes to our house in the late afternoon so I should be safe as I’ll have to get dressed by then to uphold the ruse that I’ve been productive all day.
It means I can brew a pot of coffee and carry it out to the deck where I can read in the sunshine without being interrupted and interrupted and interrupted, forced to read the same sentence three times in as many minutes.
I means I can go grocery shopping without a helper. Or get my haircut without having to buy the bottle of shampoo that accidentally got knocked off the shelf and burst open. Or go to the gynecologist without lining up a sitter because there are some things that a five year old just doesn’t need to know about yet.
It means I can sit at my desk and write, write, write, write, write, write, write. I can edit and revise and think. I can stand on my head, if I like, trying to think of the perfect way to kill off a character, and no one will look at me funny, or demand that I explain myself or ask me sweetly to help her stand on her head, too.
No one will ask me this because no one will be around.
For seven hours a day, it will be quiet.
I feel old.
I feel a little bit lonely.
I feel finicky, like a cat that can’t make up its mind what it really wants out of life.
I am overwhelmed by the largeness of the silence.
And I am amazed.
Amazed that, after almost 13 years of having children at home, they’re finally all in school.
Amazed that I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve had 7 hours to myself, at home, uninterrupted, and now suddenly I have years and years of this ahead.
I feel grateful for this.
I feel empty because of this.
I feel afraid due to this.
Yes, afraid. Afraid that, now that I have time, I’ll finish up my manuscript and no one will want to buy it. Afraid that all these years I’ve looked forward to this moment, this chance to perfect this book, I’ll botch it. I’ll just be one of those people who tried to get a book published.
Yes, I am afraid. Because this is what I have wanted all my life and what if I can’t do it?
I find things to keep me busy: church stuff, volunteering around town, washing the dishes. Things that keep me too busy to write. Too busy to face the ultimate question of whether or not I can achieve this elusive goal.
These things become excuses.
Perhaps even this blog becomes a time-filler to keep me away from what I need to do…
…but I am frightened of.
They say that fear of failure is one of the top fears of everyone in the world.
They also say that failure to try is failure in itself.
I am not afraid to die, I am not afraid to speak in public – two of the other major fears people face. But yes…I am afraid of failing in this dream.
The thing is, so much of it depends not just on me, but on others.
And maybe they won’t think I’m a genius.
But yes, I will try. I will proceed. I will finish.
Because to not to would be to have failed for certain for sure.
(Yes, I meant that sentence to be badly written. It’s reflective of my state of mind.)
Who knew that sending Boo off to kindergarten would provoke such a reaction in her mama?!
I did not cry when they drove away to school, everyone waving, Boo giggling with joy.
The tears came later. Now I’m left with a book-sized lump in my throat that is causing me cardiac distress.
I’ll let you know if it ever goes away.