Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Further Adventures in Demented Parenting

I have this tendency to laugh hysterically when someone who isn’t a writer speculates about how glamorous a writer’s life must be. (Terri Brisbin does a wonderful riff on this!) For those following such things, my saga of demented parenting continues this week with:

Discover there are not one but two phones that need to be hidden after 10 o’clock at night. Discover ex-husband (on a cruise in Alaska with girlfriend) forgot to tell me at least one callee is up in arms about late calls. Wonder what else ex-husband has forgotten to mention about this house and situation where I no longer live.

Continue morning tug of war and sitting on blankets in the morning to get son out of bed.

Someone mentions that Tylenol pm has knocked son out in the past so he slept. Run to store at 10pm to try to get some. Discover many stores closed by then. Cuss furiously as I race from store to store thinking it’s a good thing I haven’t been drinking just in case I get pulled over. Get to store and discover Tylenol pm contains same ingredient as Benadryl which hasn’t worked. Buy anyway hoping stuff at home is just too old and new stuff will work. Think desperately about stopping and buying that whiskey but manage to stay strong and just head home. Discover two hours later that nope, it doesn’t knock out son. Am tempted to take some so I can sleep.

Need to get research done. MUST get research done. Throw son in car when he misses bus by 5 minutes next morning. Vow it’s never happening again and only today because I MUST get to the library and it’s across the street from son’s program. Drop him off, do research, race to meet fellow writer, then race home to be there before son arrives and decides to do “experiments” or rearrange the house—again. Realize forgot to go to store to pick up something to fix for dinner. Decide maybe fast food isn’t a mortal sin once in a while especially if can thereby get son to eat by 7pm instead of 9 pm—or later.

We writers must cope with everything everyone else does. The good thing is, of course, that as writers we’re never alone even when we’re stuck home with our kids. There are all those pesky characters clamoring for their stories to be told. We can’t get bored, even if things are so crazy we can’t get a chance to read a book. (Hey, there’s a reason our TBR—to be read—piles sometimes hit the ceiling!) After all, even if we can’t read, we can make up stories in our heads.

We know how to create heroes and heroines, too. Odds are we know about danger and taking risks—even if it is just leaping tall piles of dirty laundry to dive and snatch something out of our children’s hands at the last possible moment. Or we’ve raced through streets to get someone we care about where they need to be in the nick of time (despite their best efforts to delay us). We know about the hard choices people sometimes have to make. We know that sometimes even when we love someone we have to walk away. We know that there aren’t always simple answers to things—no matter how much we wish there were.

Most people know these things. If we’re writers, the difference is that we have a compulsion to put things down on paper and share them with others. We write because we must. We write knowing that stories are what bind people to together. We write because we know what a difference it makes to open a book and read about someone facing the same kind of challenges we have in our own lives or who feels the same emotions so that we know we are not alone.

Whoops! Time to go leap some more tall piles of laundry!