Being a mom and writer can have moments of… juggling. Sometimes my creative moments happen right as I put lunch on the table. A story plot lends itself to resolution and in between milk refills and wiping up messy faces, I grab my pen and paper, and write it all down to explore later when they’re safely tucked in bed for the night.
This does not escape my eldest son. I might laugh when he deduces the mother in Knuffle Bunny must be staying home while the father and child go off to launder clothes because she’s an author and needs time to write but I also feel guilty that he notices the time and space I need to create.
Guilt is part and parcel of motherhood, but with writing it can feel doubly so, particularly when it involves a Saturday morning writing while the kids are with their dad at the park, or a Friday afternoon while they run around the basement and I sketch out a character perched on the treadmill because that character only now decided to speak. I feel guilty my attention can branch off like it does.
I learned something in school today, my eldest said today.
He sat down at the kitchen table and requested paper, crayons, scissors and tape.
Immediately, he went to work: folding, pressing, cutting and taping. He drew through his skype session with nani. He colored while he ate his quartered peaches. And then, he requested my help with writing his name. Not just first name. The last name too. Because this wasn’t just an art project.
This was a book. This was his book.
Climbing into my lap, he read me his book. Hotel Art. He shared the different hotel renderings, some beach side, some in crowded city districts.
Do you like my book? He asked me. It’s my first one.
We read the book a few times. He shared his other book ideas. Books for nani. Books for Abu. Books to read with his baby brother. I realized in that moment as he sat in my lap telling me his dreams for when he’s all grown up that in order to make a dream come true, it can’t hurt to also see how dreams come true: through working, brainstorming, practicing, and failing but trying again anyways. In living and sharing my life with him, I realize today, I am doing just that.
Yes I get distracted, and yes, he’s watching, but today I realized it’s not necessarily bad for him to see this. It’s okay for him to see I have dreams of my own. Perhaps in seeing that he will nourish and grow his own. The thing about kids is they’re all watching you. They watch what you say. And they watch what you do. And following and cultivating the pursuits of his heart? That is among my biggest dreams for him.