I'm having a day off. Which is absolutely fabulous! I had lunch with an old friend, hit the thrift shop (thumbs down on them having raised their prices BTW) and spent a few hours at the library reading, writing, studying. Earlier as I walked around my little town of Ithaca in the drizzly grey rain I thought about my life. I thought about what I looked like to anyone walking past me. I had this strange and sudden confidence in myself, accompanied by thoughts that I am a writer. Knowing this made me feel I was standing just a little bit taller. I am pretty tall anyway, but still.
I felt like this when I became pregnant. I felt like I was doing something utterly and completely worthwhile. Here I was this seemingly normal woman going to work and helping folks pick out the right tent, but inside I had a secret that set me apart from them. I had a little blob growing inside me that would turn into my child. And that little blob made me something special. Never mind that endless eons filled with woman have, are, and will continue to do this very thing. It gave me something outside, or in this case, inside, of myself to define my worth.
Later when I had that little baby in my arms, I felt the same sense of meaning in my life. Through nursing, waking at night, the endless chores and challenges of motherhood. I carried around a sense of empowerment tucked in right next to the baby in the Ergo carrier. I was working on a project, named Cedar, that endlessly needed me and through which I could distill some of life's meaning and into myself. As hard as those early years were, some part of me felt great about what I was doing.
Kids grow up. The past five years have gone in a blink of the eye. And I refuse to be one of those mothers who's sole sense of pride and confidence comes from the accomplishments of their children. I love that I potty trained my boy early. I adore teaching him things, reading him books and then listening to him every day for the next week spit back that information to me as if I have never heard it before. I enjoy waiting for the bus for him and hearing about his day of kindergarten. I know I will cheer for him when he plays on the hockey team and will cry my eyes out when he moves out and goes to college. When that day comes when my life is no longer about this particular project, where is it that I want to be?
When you hear the call to become a parent you don't go to school and study for 2 or 3 years to become learned and wise, despite the fact that most people really ought to. Perhaps the reality that finding your passion in the world of work and discovering that you CAN return to the educational environment to pursue it, is the greatest argument I can think of for getting an MFA. If it is possible that I can learn more, become better skilled, create energy and confidence in my work, then perhaps it should happen.
When I spend my days writing, editing, blogging, surfing the web for writing circles, reading books on how to get published, getting all introspective about life, I feel like I am carrying around a secret that insulates me from the world. Don't get me wrong, the hardship of the world is knocking at my door, begging to come inside, and sometimes we let it. But this voice in my head that reminds me who I am is the thing that fuels me, and it is positive and good and healthy and hopeful. I know I have found my calling. Being a mother was a calling I never heard until it happened, and I wouldn't trade it for the moon or the sun or the whole world now. I've known I was a writer for many years, and I finally have awakened to hear it.