It’s been three weeks of complete solo parenting. Jeb’s dad, Rex, has been off-island working and I’ve not had the relief of any real ‘me’ time these days. Typically, Jeb will spend one night a week with his dad and I can relish in 24 hours of space, where I rejuvenate and remember this self of mine. Touching in on a world beyond addition flashcards and Lego guys.
Effects of ceaseless parental duty seem to be subtle (at least to me, confirmation would need to be made with friends in my immediate vicinity). But one distinct shift I’ve noticed is less creative inspiration in the past few weeks. If I have words to express, they are fewer and more private. As though I have reserves that must be rationed.
When nighttime falls it’s bedtime at our place, 8pm sharp. As soon as Jeb is asleep, all business will have to wait. I’ll cherish a moment of quiet with the crickets in low light. Sit with myself and feel the inner folds of emotion. Realms that pulse steadily somewhere inside my chest, waiting to be rediscovered. Like fingertips on brail, I reach to trace dimensions that have lived all through the bustle of the day, only now given the space to be recognized. Journal paper and a sharp pencil lead. Or maybe just my feet propped on the ottoman with a moment to let my mind wander. To feel.
These evening sessions nurture me, but I’m finding that they do not necessarily produce anything. If I am a writer, then my product would be words. And I’m finding as of late, my word production factory has been high on feeling but low on inventory with little time to stop and take stock.
I refuse to write about not being able to write (well, that’s probably a fib, I most likely have done this at some point – I seem to write about everything). My point being that I have no desire to read about someone’s writer’s block and I certainly don’t want to read or write about my own. Besides, I do not have the dreaded “writer’s block.” There is no block here, unless it’s a building block, and in that case I’ll use it as a foundation for a structure, or turn it into stairs. Maybe stow it in the back of the factory warehouse and add it to the inventory.
The pressing, most immediate question is this: what essence is there to be captured and shared on this morning at 5:24am? What is alive as I sit in my grandmother’s turquoise kimono while roosters stir with the faint sound of surf hitting cliffs in the distance?
Why am I here? What compels me to rise from bed at 4:45am in order to try to tap letters to this screen? I am compelled to touch that essence of a feeling. And one needs to be feeling in order to have a sense of this essence. Essence needs space to be felt. Space to digest, distill and inspire.
As a mother, I’m asked to carve out this feeling space in unlikely moments – cutting celery sticks or emptying the pockets of Jeb’s jeans before a wash. Or take the option of waking long before the sun and steal away an hour of pre-sunrise feeling time.
I’ll reach for my own deep interior during these random snippets, but there is no red carpet rolled out before me. No sanctuary of serenity set with incense or sounding gongs. I’ve got to ring in my own presence in the midst of chaos. Discover that mini Lego light saber in the folds of Jeb’s jeans and let it slice away just a moment for me to feel this living. Use it as a token to remind me of the sense of an essence that is more than laundry. More than mom. But fueled by all of these mundane tasks, at the same time, too.
Dedicated to continue this practice of following a thread, asking questions, writing words to the Archives, I’m coming here this morning, perhaps, exemplifying confusion. Showing that I’ve had 21 days of non-stop parenthood and this isn’t always conducive to clear trains of thought. This makes people goofy. This makes writers meander aimlessly.
I see light, though. Rex comes back today. Jeb will be with him tomorrow night. I will have my respite. And now, it appears I’ve created quite the set up for myself. Confessing to you and then waiting to see if my theory is correct. That with just a little time alone, no Legos, no school lunches, I may find a wellspring of words that touch some universal truth. That some masterpiece may now finally emerge.
I’ll give my disclaimer now: if there is some “piece”, it’s me. And I’m just a baby with the blocks, still learning how to build and master it.