Friday, September 07, 2012

On Writing and Being Alone

The Renal Support Network hosts an annual essay contest, and this year I entered.  I didn't tell anybody about it, in case I lost.  I mean, how embarrassing would that be?

I'm telling you now not because I won, but because I got an Honorable Mention and $50, which is $50 more than I had before.  It's not a win, but it's nice to be considered.  I'm on the editorial board of an LDS women's magazine called Segullah (It means "that which we treasure" in Hebrew, or something), and we've done essay contests before, so I know a little bit about what goes into judging these kinds of things. You kind of narrow it down to the top ten, and then start picking through those top 10 with a fine tooth comb to figure out what exactly constitutes a winning essay.  Sometimes the staff at Segullah doesn't agree who the outright winner should be.  Inevitably there are essays that don't get the majority vote for the winner but that everybody still agrees is a good one, which is why even we do honorable mentions.  So, it's nice to be mentioned.  I haven't been informed as to when the winners will be posted, but when they are, I'll let you know.

In other news, my baby went to Kindergarten this week, and I've been in a sort of daze ever since.  I've come out of it, somewhat, but that first day, I just sort of wandered around, not quite knowing what to do with myself.  Other moms said that this was normal, that it takes time to adjust to, well, time.  It's been a while since I've had so much time to myself.  It reminded me of a long-forgotten conversation with my mother, a woman who spent 30 years raising children.  (She did have 6 of them, after all.)  I don't remember the context, but she asked me if I enjoyed my own company.  I thought it was an odd question, but then I remember thinking about for a long time, the idea of enjoying one's own company. I asked her if she enjoyed HER own company, and she cheerfully said, "Yes, I do."  Then she told me that there was going to be many times in my life when it was just me, and that if I didn't enjoy my own company now, then I'd better learn.

Even as a kid I remember thinking, "When are YOU ever alone?" Like I said, the woman had 6 children, and taught flute to a million more children after school (she still does.  She's 71 years old, and says she plays flute as well as or better than she ever did.  The woman is a machine).  But she didn't teach during school hours, and she never had another job as far as I know, so I'm realizing that after my twin sister and I went to school, 6 kids or not, she faced the same stretch of a lonely day that I now face.  And I'm also realizing that I have absolutely no idea how she spent that stretch of day.

I have some plans that involve possibly going back to work, although that makes me nervous.  5 years out of the game will do that, I suppose.  And sometimes I feel like our lives are always changing, always growing, and just for a little while I'd like to keep things the same.  But life doesn't work like that, and so I gear up for yet another new chapter.  New chapters are good, right?

Maybe.  Right now, I'm going to go enjoy my own company and take a nap.  Because naps, those are good.  And better done alone.


Rob Monroe said...

Congrats on Kindergarten, and moreso on recognition for your writing!

My (only child) girl started Kindergarten three weeks ago now - she's always been a happy kid, but man now she's excitable on a different level. It's fun to see! (Probably helps that she has been the only girl at Preschool for two years and now she has girlfriends again!)

Heather O. said...

Thanks, Rob. And I hope things go well for your girl. My girl is struggling a little bit--we're keeping our fingers crossed that things get better.