Ever wonder what it’s like to care for a toddler and write simultaneously? Of course you haven’t. But I’ve discovered why it can teach us all about distractions as blessings in disguise. Here's a typical day--
I’ve written two sentences before the first question arises from behind my chair.
“Mom, can I have the wedding castle?”
“Hmm? Uh huh…”
The wedding castle looked sharply at the…
Gah! Delete, delete.
I get up and place the wedding castle gently between the land of fairy and the sad wreckage that once was Ponyville.
Back to the sentences. Did I write this? This is awful.
Delete. Begin again.
“Mom? Where’s the princess tea set?”
I delete ‘cake’ and ‘table’ from the end of the sentence. I find the miniature wedding accouterments two inches from toddler and make a mental note to take her to the optometrist.
Its nearly worth it when the rare manner is applied.
Sit, read. Delete last sentence. Breath. Start again. Two paragraphs, nearly done—
“Mom! I need to go potty!”
I jump up as only a seasoned veteran of wet carpets and extra laundry knows how too.
“Go! Go! Go!” I yell like an anxious football coach on the sidelines. I charge into the bathroom…by myself.
Turning, I find her still crouched over a tangle-headed pony.
“Delaney! Bathroom! Go!” My brain has exhausted proper sentence structure.
Fifteen minutes and a half an ounce in the correct receptacle later, I sit back down. Breath. Re-read. One, two, three lines of snarky dialogue.
“Mom? What’s a mammal?”
John barked, “It has hair, gives birth to live young and boob-feeds its babies!”
“Mommy that’s a bad word!” I cringe into my chair and nod in agreement.
“Sorry, its just—“ I sigh. “You’re right, it is.”
I stare at my daughter playing. The sunlight paints her an angel. These years are short. There will come a day when the blissful quiet of a house to myself will be lonely and empty. Breath.
My eyes mist over because I’m certainly the worst, most ungrateful mess of a mother. I drop to my knees to find the illusive fairy sized teapot buried in the rubble of ponies and their foot-killing accessories.
The full of my attention garners something quite unexpected. A question-free silence, where even the silliest of suggestions makes for a daring plot. I’m suddenly creative. The freedom of her unguarded imagination rubs off on me. She doesn't know how to censor, she doesn't know how to limit. Because of this, she can play for hours. This is how I should write, as though I am playing.
“What’s your story about, Momma?”
“Nothing special, baby cakes.” I say.
“Does it have ponies in it?”
“Well, it should.”