writer – librarian – word wrangler

Finding an orange on the path

 Secretly, I have always been aware of signs, moments that signal I am on “the right path.” When our older daughter was baptized (before my humanist revolution) the minister used a shell she had brought back from a beach in the Holy Land.  We moved into our new home that same weekend and found a tiny version of that shell left behind on a window sill in her room.  To me it wasn’t so much a religious sign, but a confirmation that we had landed in the right place.  Moving to that house and becoming part of that neighborhood was a true gift to our young family.

This decision to follow a life of writing is terrifying for so many ego-tinged reasons I continue to battle; none of them are unique, confirmed by the number of blogs and books promising to to help me win the war.  Since I’m not anywhere near sharing work with anyone, currently, the hardest part facing me is the time challenge.  Reading Brigid Schulte’s Overwhelmed: How to Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time, (greedily from the front seat of my car during kids’ tennis lessons) I wrote down phrases that made me laugh out loud in recognition.  Time confetti, contaminated time and time poverty: my malady had a name!  But the cure was the same old advice: prioritize and follow through.

I feel proud that I have kept my promise to write every day for a couple of months. I write during a scheduled time each day and sneak in more when possible.  To learn about writing and publishing, I swapped my time filling and abandoning online shopping carts with an online course of Writing for Children and blog hunting.  But some days, it isn’t enough and I want more time.  Patience is not one of my virtues.

The other day, I wrote a bleak little poem for the 2015 PAD challenge about How to Share an Orange (the prompt was “How”).  It described dividing an orange for myself, having “little people” eat all the pieces, and finished with a reminder/warning to save myself a piece.  After posting it, I worried what my kids would think if they read it. Would they hear the frustration?  Wasn’t one reason I was pursuing this path to spend more time with them? Was I even on the right path?

Later that day, I was summoned to a nurse’s office for a heartsick child of mine.  She was tear-stained and coiled on the vinyl half-bed, vibrating with anxiety and loneliness. I held her closely and took a deep breath, trying to blend my head and my heart before speaking.  All I could smell was orange.  Sitting on the stainless steel counter was a cut-up orange the nurse had abandoned when she was interrupted to care for my daughter.  I wish I could say I had an epiphany, that all of a sudden I knew just how to heal my daughter, calm my mind and enjoy every moment of this wild ride.  I didn’t.  But, I enjoyed the smell of that orange and I felt comforted by the sign I was supposed to be there. This is my path.

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