Once upon a time, I was childless. I slept in on the weekends, could come and go as I pleased, and only had to be responsible for my own bathroom habits. Who was that innocent, carefree person of years past? I hardly know anymore, but old journals suggest she was terribly self-absorbed and actually whined about not having enough time to write. Now, I wonder what I actually did with all that free time floating around.
Since my daughter came into my life, I’ve learned to use my time more efficiently; and I’d like to think I’m a little bit wiser. There are some things I’ve learned about parenthood in the past ten years that “young me” had no inkling about. You guessed it–here’s a list:
Tooth brushing is an agonizing, tortuous activity. Who knew?
I am now responsible for another being’s pee/poo on an intimate level never dreamed of (especially with a spina bifida kid).
Speaking of which, I’ll not only learn how to pronounce “spina bifida”, but way more than I ever wanted to know about it. Ask me about cone enemas, I dare you.
Wow, I’m really not the center of the Universe. There’s a kind of relief in that knowledge.
After years of absolutely no interest in other people’s children, suddenly, every child is my child, and I find them interesting and precious.
At ten, my daughter is beginning to personally remind me how dumb I actually am. (Eye rolls and “Don’t you get it?” are common occurrences. Um, no?).
Being a parent forces me to be social with other human beings. I guess that’s good?
I’ve made the rather appalling realization that I’ll never stop worrying. Never.
Having a child is truly a great way to see the world anew, with innocent, wondrous eyes. And that’s good for a writer, not to mention just about everyone else, too.
I’ll never know a greater, deeper, more unconditional love. Never.
Having children is not for everyone, and there was a time I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a parent myself. But Lilly is the best thing that ever happened to me, pee/poo notwithstanding. And I am beginning to get those weekend sleep-ins back. Which makes me a little sad, since it means she’s growing up. But I’ll take it.
Recently, my daughter and I have been obsessed with crossword puzzles. We’ll sit at the kitchen table at the end of a day and tackle the daily crossword in the local newspaper. We love them so much I bought a booklet of crosswords from the racks at the store, and we tackle those, too. It doesn’t matter that they’re fairly easy. We don’t want to be too challenged; we just want to fill those little boxes.
It’s the latest obsession in my life, one of many over the years. Something tickles my imagination or interest, and I fall into it deeply. Here’s a list of the obsessions I’ve indulged in since I was a child, more or less in chronological order:
Star Wars. I fell in love with Han Solo at ten.
Tarot cards. I had several decks and many books. I loved the artwork, and the idea of self-awareness and improvement through their symbolic language.
Goddess lore. I desperately needed female empowerment in my twenties.
Yoga. I wanted to be like those practitioners who could twist into pretzels. I never got there. Now I just like to eat pretzels.
Anne Rice novels. Weepy, tortured vampires spanning the centuries. What’s not to love?
Arthurian legends. It began with The Mists of Avalon, and fanned out to whatever book on Arthur and Camelot I could get my hands on.
Lord of the Rings (movies, then books. Sorry, purists). Tolkien is wonderful, but Peter Jackson made it more digestible to me.
Austen/Bronte novels. I don’t feel I have to choose between apples and oranges. Propriety and passion are equally entertaining in these ladies’ works.
Writing in Dunkin Donuts coffee shops. I have three in my town, and I rotate which ones I write in. I can’t drink any other coffee.
Writer’s journals/Journalling. It’s the only writing I do these days; I’m not reading novels, but writer’s journals (mostly women): Woolf, Plath, Nin, Sarton.
I’m sure there will be many more obsessions in my life in the years ahead; what we cling to, circle around, devote ourselves to says a lot about who we are.
What are your obsessions? Drop me a line, and we’ll talk about it!
If I weren’t living the glamorous life of a writer/cashier, here’s a list of occupations I might have gone into instead:
Art Museum Tour Guide
Classical Music DJ
As you can see, my life must involve any combination of animals/books/coffee. And if I ever get bored with groceries, at the very least I can head over to the nearest Starbucks for that backup dream job. But you can be sure I’ll have a notebook in my purse.
What roads have you not taken? Any regrets? Leave a comment and we’ll talk about it!