When I was in my early years of elementary school, I thought I might grow up and write “stories.”
But, turns out stories are hard to write.As a writer, you have to create these whole worlds and fill them with people who do stuff, who live in certain places, eat favorite foods, and have jobs and relationships and problems.
And I’ve found that the stuff that happens in real life turns out to be much more interesting, much more funny, much more off-the-wall than anything I could have created.
So instead of “stories,” I write non-fiction.I write personal essays that sometimes make their way into publications.(Check out my “Published Work” link to learn more).I write informational pieces for MomsLA.com.And I write to try and figure things out for myself.
But, it turns out that there’s still a lot I haven’t figured out.I haven’t figured out how to live with a chronic medical condition without letting it completely define me but while also acknowledging the limitations it imposes on my life.I haven’t figured out the differences between jelly and jam and marmalade.And I still haven’t figured out how to whistle.
Maybe I won’t ever figure some things out.After all, I’m forty now and the whistling thing just isn’t happening.
But I’ll keep trying to make sense of life in the only way I know how — one word at a time.I’ll keep writing.
One of my favorite moments from Mother’s Day happened during breakfast.While we were all enjoying our treats from Coffee Bean, my husband asked our eight-year-old son:“What’s one of the things you really like that Mommy does?What’s one of the special things Mommy does for you?”
I didn’t know what Ryan would answer.After all, I give him a nightly rub down.I pack love notes in his lunch box each day.I always have chocolate in the house.He can watch part of a DVD every day after school.
Ryan surprised me with his answer.He said, “She reads me an extra story at night.”
Part of our night-time routine is a bedtime story of Ryan’s choosing.Depending on the length of the book, we may only read one book or one chapter.But generally, when Ryan asks for another story, I have a hard time saying no.I check the clock to see that we’re closer to 8:15 than 8:30, and read one more story.After all, there are nights I don’t even get to read any more.There are nights when I’m merely the book-holder and page-turner, and my son reads to us.So I’ve got to grab these moments while I can.
And it made my heart swell to know that these moments mean as much to Ryan, too.
On my desk, I have two pictures of my son.One is his second-grade class photo.His smile shows a missing front tooth.He wears a blue polo shirt, his glasses, and he’s in front of a backdrop of autumn trees that he selected.(The photo was taken in October).
The other photo is from the invitation for my son’s first birthday party.I look at that face, and I just see everything.I see all the love, I see all the hope, I see all the promise of a new life.Everything was still so new — for Ryan and for me.
We took that photo as he sat on the floor of his bedroom.He smiled right at the camera as he held a soft little book.He wore a special “My 1st Birthday Onesie” and jeans.And his eyes — large, dark Hershey’s Kisses eyes.
Ryan’s second grade picture is the picture of a boy.A boy who knows how to pose for a photo.A boy who needs glasses so he can see the board clearly.A boy who can still enchant me with his dark chocolate eyes.
This week, days before Mother’s Day, I’m thinking of this journey my son and I have been on.I’m thinking of the journey we’re still on.I’m learning that it doesn’t necessarily ever get easier.It gets different.
One picture shows me where we’ve been.One picture shows me where we’re at.And, though I don’t necessarily know exactly where we’re going, I know we’ll be getting there together.
(To my mommy readers, have a wonderful Mother’s Day!And for my readers who may be looking for a Mother’s Day gift idea, check out this post I wrote for MomsLA.com about easy Mother’s Day crafts kids can make.)