Tuesday, November 24, 2015

hard conversations

The other morning at breakfast Anna and I were reviewing safety drills: what to do if there is a fire, an earthquake, a gun.

I had a stomach ache the whole time we were talking and she was crawling around on her knees, looking for a safe spot to wait out the imaginary earthquake. My anxiety is bad enough. I don't need help imagining all the horrific things that could happen to our daughters. I hate these conversations. I hate this reality.

Later that day I faced another not-so-fun conversation as Anna headed off to a new friend's house for a playdate: the ever-awkward 'do you have a gun in your house' talk. It's great preschool drop-off chit chat. 'Is your daughter feeling better? Nice to have a break from the rain, isn't it?  Do you have a (unsecured) gun in the house?'

It's not my favorite conversation. I'd really rather skip it.

But I didn't skip it. And the other mom thanked me for it. She's new to this country and she's terrified of the guns, too. She was glad to know that others asked. She wants to ask. These hard conversations may be the least we can do but at least they are something we can do.

This all makes me so mad. I hate that we have to have these conversations. I'm furious this is our reality. And I'm so very, very angry at my inability to do anything about it. It's bad enough that the earth beneath us could start shaking at any moment and literally bring everything around us crumbling to the ground. But guns? Terrorists? Violence? She's going to Kindergarten next year and there she will learn what to do if someone comes into her classroom and starts shooting. They have to teach that now, just like stop, drop and roll. And she has to learn it because, oh God, because.

I don't know how to keep her safe. I can't keep her safe. It's the most unfair and horrible part of parenting. It's enough to paralyze me. I don't know what to do other than have the hard conversations.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

I write

I have something to say and if I don't say it now I worry I might never.

I write.

Not necessarily well, and maybe never professionally. I will likely never get paid, and it doesn't really matter to me if others read my words.

What matters to me is that I write.

I wrote an email response to a friend today. I typed the words that were on my heart without edit or caveat. I let the words come naturally and fully. Not what I had planned on writing but what was truly on my heart. Just that simple act, an email, and my heart felt lighter, more settled because writing, as it turns out, is my catharsis.

And there are so many reasons why I haven't written, and why I may not still. But for today, I write.

I write because I want my girls to find their voices and to use them. I owe it to them to do the same.

I write because I am learning to say 'yes'.  Out of self preservation I default to 'no'  but I have been discovering the freedom that can come in saying 'yes'.

I write because in writing I make sense of my thoughts, my fears, my world. It connects me to myself, grounds me, calms me. It's the cheapest and most effective therapy I know.

I write because I do it anyway, all the time. Even though I rarely get them down, I formulate my thoughts into words constantly: in the shower, at night when I lay awake, in the car while I'm driving. And I wish I had them all recorded, all those thoughts, because for me writing is my living archive - the best way I know to process and preserve what is important to me. I write to my girls privately, sharing with them as honestly and openly and without any reservation what my heart longs for them to know, what I fear I've failed to express, what I desperately need them to remember. God forbid something happens to me, the biggest gift I can leave my girls are my words because in reading my words they will know my heart. And my heart is really all I have to give.

I write because of a few words of encouragement I've recently received. The kind of words that mean something from a voice that doesn't placate. Unsolicited, measured, premeditated, and heartfelt words that will give me life should I let them. Words that ought to be taken to heart.

I write because that voice in my head that reminds me that there are millions of better writers out there so why should I bother is a lie. I write so that I may name that lie. I write to fight its power. I write because my voice might not be a great one, but it is uniquely mine.

I write because life is short but it's never too late.

And I write because of that fire in my bones, simmering always there under the surface. Because when I write I can feel the warmth of the flames.