Monday, December 04, 2006

What's in your griefcase?

My own personal issues with the holiday season inspired the conversation in my parenting class today.

The facilitator was talking about the things and people we mourn. Like missing the career girl you once were, even though you've traded that role in for that of stay-at-home mom. Being grateful for kids and for staying home with them doesn't mean you don't miss the days of business luncheons and the satisfaction of work done well (and not undone 5 minutes later by little hands).

And Sandy said something to me: something that made me realize I am carrying something else around in my own griefcase.

She said, "You're a writer."

And I didn't hear anything after that. I was so stunned by the words -- so absolutely blown away to receive such a label -- that I missed her exact words. I think I know basically what she was saying, but it was those 3 words that made the difference.

I used to identify myself as a writer. Writing was not just something I did, it was necessary to my life, like breathing or drinking water. I did it because NOT to do it was like death.

I haven't kept a journal in years -- not since an ill-fated love affair in the summer of 1990. How I wish I had kept writing then, when I was so wrapped up in the delicious firsts of summertime love. What I would give to read my own thoughts at the time, when things were so good, and later, when they were so unbearably bad. But when the bad part came, I couldn't write about it. I couldn't write anything. I lost it, because I lost part of me.

A few years ago I got the chance to go back to that summer for a couple of nights. I got to say the things I needed to say, to ask the questions I needed to ask, to get angry and to yell and to cry and to hear that I didn't imagine the magic, I didn't invent the feelings, that in some ways we really did create the universe all by ourselves and that a long ago love can mature, can grow, and can peacefully coexist with the deeper, soul-binding and altogether different love of a marriage and parenthood.

And then I found blogging. I do this blog for me. Yes, it's great that I can keep friends and family up to date on our family's activities and adventures, and that I can vent about whatever political or social issue is on my mind at any given time. But the bottom line is that it is for me.

Because I am a writer.

I had no idea I mourned the loss of that label. I didn't even realize that I had lost it, or when, until today. But I am reclaiming it because it IS me. It is part of who I am, it is necessary. It is what I do; to think things through, to make decisions, to remember, to process, to honor myself. Thank you, Sandy.

I am a writer.


  1. You ARE a writer! And a darn good one at that!

    Hey Maddie is sleeping in a car in the Barlow/HyVee parking lot to raise money for Christmas Anonymous for the next 4 nights. They are calling it "4 Chicks in a Saturn". She is going to freeze her butt off even if one of the guys from the "4 Dudes in a Camry" car is bringing a fire pit.

    Stop by and see her - and if she begs to take her home tell her "Your Mom told you so." and drive away fast!


  2. Anonymous8:48 PM

    Yes, you most certainly are...any you're welcome.

  3. You ARE A WRITER! You could have just asked your mother that and heard that answer. However, it is always more sweet when you discover it yourself after a friend says a few magic words. You need to write children's books - you have a wonderful imagination and your creativity literally amazes me each time you create something. You Go Girl! I know you can do whatever you set your mind to do - after all, I've seen it all your life! Love to my creative, talented "You Are a Writer" Girl! Mom

  4. Anonymous8:54 PM

    Good for you for rediscovering that and getting back into it. Enjoy and let it heal you!!!!

    Hope you have a better holiday season.

  5. And a very good one at that.
    A DINFOS trained killer!