I’ve recently returned home from ten days of helping with twin newborn grandbabies and their three-year-old sister. What an honor to be there just the day they were born and able to help with the initial care of this beautiful, growing family. Also, getting to play with a pre-school-mind-sponge was tons of tiring fun.
I was so prepared for this out-of-state adventure. I’d taken several books and finger-puppets for kiddo, and my new laptop, two books to read, and three notebooks for different projects for me, as well as all my state tax information, for I fully intended to do some writing and reading and related business in my spare time.
Spare time? Oh, hahahahaha!
When I wasn’t playing, changing diapers, cuddling criers, sweeping, mopping, washing dishes and clothes, reading picture books, giving baths, braiding hair, acting out nursery rhymes with finger-puppets, fixing meals, cleaning the kitty litter, finding appropriate 3-year-old programs to watch, etc., I was so tired I simply could not think; that is, think creatively enough to put words down onto paper (or computer).
This brain-sucking reminds me of a man from church who had a heart attack. (Yes, this is relative to baby care.) When he was recovering at home, his wife asked him if he needed anything from the store. He answered, “Pampers.” They are in their 70’s. No babies needing Pampers in their house. So she pursued: “Why do we need Pampers?” “For the cat.” It took her a while to figure out he was searching for the words “kitty litter,” but the heart attack so affected his mind that finding the right word choice was difficult.
Today at the grocery store the clerk asked me if I wanted paper or plastic bags. I stared at her open-mouthed as if answering that question was like trying to calculate the distance between Mars and Jupiter in meters.
Medical conditions, emotional problems, or even the best of stress (like lapping up Grandma time) and being doggone tired does funny things to your mind and thought process and writing time.
Can you write during these times? Or better yet, should you write during these times?
Stepping back from those past ten days and slowly recovering (but willing to return in a heartbeat), I’ve realized three things:
1) Family always, always comes first;
2) No matter how idealistic it is to strive for the “write every day” banner, there are just going to be some life times when it’s not feasible to do so; and
3) Take a deep breath and give yourself a temporary guilt-free writing pass.
And now for a bit of grandparent awww: