“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”
― Henry David Thoreau
I’ve decided the only way I’m going to write again is to just do it. I have pages of journal entries from this summer. Most are one or two lines – blog post ideas, submission and stories ideas, quotes from the kids that I don’t want to forget, and then of course dozens of doodles. I’ve always been one to doodle flowers. The same flowers that I’ve drawn since I was about 10 years old when I first discovered the art of doodling during a boring lesson in class. I will go back to fifth grade notebooks and recognize my childish script that is crowded into the center with flowers filling the margins. My flowers always have five petals, a big center, a curvy stem and two leaves. My artistic ability has not improved in these 35 years, nor has my want to draw something bigger or better. I’m happy with my flowers and the familiar.
So I sit content this summer not looking for the new. Not looking for that viral piece, that big break, that instagram picture with 100 likes. I sit here in the happy of my same and good. Yet instead of sitting, I’ve spent more time standing up and moving. And maybe a little time on a lounge chair by the pool.
Yet I sit here right now and try to write again. I’m at the breakfast bar that has become our family gathering place, our homework center, our meal eating area, and my desk, and I hear good things. Eloise is above me in the in living room playing the piano. A few years ago she learned Für Elise(the child version) and now is learning it again(for grown-ups) and she plays it again and again and again. She could play this for days and I would never tire of it just like my flower doodles that still make me smile. She misses a key and goes back and picks it up again and gets it perfect this time. It makes me want to stop typing and head to the couch to be near her and either close my eyes or read a good book that might match the rhythm of the music.
Astrid goes between dancing in the living room – practicing her ballet positions and leaps to the piano music, and heading up to her bedroom to play with Calico Critters. During the summer she has created elaborate houses, roads, businesses and schools with her Critters. She can finally dress them and undress them and manipulate them as she wishes without assistance. She is six. And she is big enough to do anything by herself. It should make it easier for me to find time to write – this time of “no assistance” to her. But instead all I want to do is be near her for as many moments as I can while she is still little. She is still so very little.
Esther is in the other room with her iPhone. Yes, I said HER iPHONE – the original sin of parenting in the 21st century – getting your ten year old their own iPhone. Believe me, I never thought I would do it either. And I could go in depth on why we bought it for her – or I could write a list post about the top 10 reasons why our fifth grader needed an iPhone. But you know what, it doesn’t really matter as we just did what we felt needed to happen for our own family. Ain’t nobody got time to read posts about how my choices are better than your choices. They are just different. Or the same. Or whatever. So she’s currently in the rec room making videos with the cats. She’s trying to make them dance and do jumps and maybe even talk. I really have no clue – but she’s laughing and the cats seem happy. I mean, cats rarely seem happy – so they are as happy as cats can get. And all I want to do is shut this laptop down and go spy on her…and the cats.
Jed is at work. I’ve said that sentence about 1454 times in the past four months. Work is good. Work is busy. But by August I see how hard it has been for him. So when he’s here(which isn’t much) we all shut down and spend time together. Not a laptop or a phone has even come to bed this summer, and it’s been nice to unplug and see new life.
Fall is coming(I’d love to say Winter Is Coming – but fear of plagiarism you know), so there will be a shift. I will sit here alone. And it will be quiet. And my excuses for doodling flowers will be gone. And then I will sit and write about what it was like to stand and live. So I must go now as someone wants to play another song, dance with me, help with shooting a video, or just be given the ease and time to fall asleep together…early.