Last year I came out of the closet. As a writer. Nothing more dangerous than that.
Since I was in grade school, my hobbies remain the same: reading, writing, and running. Clearly, I'm borderline boring, but fairly content with that.
Four years ago, when my daughter, Lorelei, was nearly three, and my oldest son Ben was 18 months, I started a blog to chronicle the books we read together. It was a journal-like review of the book, telling the faithful reader of my blog (note the single tense: the lone faithful reader was my mom, my die-hard fan for life) what Lorelei and I got out of the book. (Should that readership want to grow to two, the blog, Kate's Bookery can be located by clicking here.) It was a fun exercise in looking at the big picture while looking at picture books with my daughter and infant son. If nothing else, it was a cool momento of stories from their toddler/preschool years that they would have forever.
But, a few years later, I wanted more. Funny how that works. My youngest son, Kiefer, will be in preschool in the fall, and I would like to take my writing more seriously. I want to actualize this dream that's been inside me for decades. This dream is as impatient as Kiefer, stomping his feet and calling out stubbornly, "NOW! NOW!" in the rudest way.
So, what's a mom to do? I started to invest in myself a little more each month. I set aside an hour each morning before the kids wake up to write (something! anything! just get some words down!), I joined a writer's group, I read from my work (live! not just posted something online and walked away as who-knows-who read it!), I joined this Slice of Life gang. I started doing little things to help myself, and I started talking about it with others.
And people are listening. My friends and a handful of strangers have been kind and encouraging. My husband provided space in our toy-stuffed house for a new-old (antique!) writing table. My best friend introduced me not as a stay-at-home-mom but as a writer. A writer. I got all choked up then, and still get all choked up now thinking about it.
The coolest thing, though? My kids listen. I've told them I want to write children's books so they pepper me with story ideas all day, every day, thinking it takes a mere day to create a storyline, find an illustrator, and publish the actual book. But they tell their teachers, which is sweet and neat.
On New Year's Eve, we sat together as a family and wrote down our memories of 2013 and our hopes and dreams of 2014. We're a lucky bunch, so both lists were long, and the kids have no idea what feasibility is so the stuff they wanted to accomplish in 2014 is funny--either huge like "go to Peru" or simple "learn to ride a bike."
A few days later, I looked at the list, still posted in our dining room. And I saw that Lorelei had added something:
When nagging self-doubt bubbles up in me, I think of this. And I think, well Lorelei believes.
And I start to believe again, too. In myself.