Sunday, February 10, 2013
The answer is simple: Imperfectly.
As evidence of that, I want to share with you a letter. Over the years I've kept copies of my correspondence with Nancy (my editor), and I happened upon this one tonight. I think it illustrates the struggles of a working mom who is also trying pursue a creative passion. Is was written somewhere in the early stages of the Sammy Keyes series. My sons Connor and Colton were about 6 and 8 years old.
I worry that you think I'm a callous brute of a mom. I recognize that on more than one occasion I've been seemingly insensitive to one of my kids while you and I were on the phone. And today one child was crying because I'd raised my voice at another. Sigh. You don't know that a banana cured the hysteria or that Colton wasn't upset at all that I'd been testy, because he'd (AGAIN) forgotten the book which he needs to complete his homework assignment. He knew he'd goofed up. (Although his report is on Louis Braille, sometimes I think he'd be more suited to report on a famous deaf person...)
Such things you've witnessed from afar: Crying kids and Barney. You probably don't remember suffering through the Barney theme song which I just HAD to sing with Colton at the end of that goofy dino's early morning show, but I do. What must she think? Me singing this damned song while she waits patiently to have a long-distance conversation with me. The fact of the matter is my kids have got to learn that I am not at their beck and call 24 hours a day. They CAN wait to have a snack, or show me just how big a poop they've produced. Yes, it will wait.
My conversations with you are very precious to me, although today Connor told me that they were complete "nothing nonsense." You see, he'd (for the first time for either of my kids) picked up the extension and listened to our "stupid" conversation. "You care more about Nancy than you do about Colton, Mom! I have to tell you something. I have to tell you something important. Mom. I LISTENED, and I KNOW that what you were talking about with her was NOTHING compared to what I'm going through here. I'm very upset Mom, and you have no idea how bad I feel!"
But hey, there's Colton saying, "It's okay, Mom. I'm not upset. Connor just needs a banana."
Such is life in our household. Especially between 4-5:00 PM
So don't think I'm a brute, okay? I give so much of myself to my kids. Sometimes I think I love them so much my heart will positively break. I'd do anything for them, but they've got to learn that there are times they cannot demand my attention. I'm just sorry that you've been witness to my attempts at their re-education.
The fax has arrived. I'm looking forward to reading it after the kids are in bed. Meanwhile, there's homework to finish, and Colton's drying to de-throne me in foosball, so I've got to go defend my title.
Thanks for being you,
So take heart if you find yourself trying to juggle everything. It's not easy, even if a public persona makes it look like it is. We all make mistakes. Sometimes the answer's a banana. Sometimes it's a good night's sleep. But the key is to keep stumbling forward because eventually you will get there, and the only way you will get there is imperfectly.