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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sour grapes, perhaps?

I think I'm going about this book-writing thing all wrong. I should have just latched onto a comment made by the First-Lady-to-be and decided to write a book. Why do soul-searching and a gut-wrenching examination of my personal experience with a critically-ill son who has spent months in the hospital when all I really needed was a catch phrase to latch onto. I needed the domain-name gods to align and be in the right place at the right time.

What am I referring to? Why Michelle Obama's self-proclamation of "Mom in Chief." I love that she used that expression. I'll chalk that coincidence up to great minds thinking alike. But if only I had been smart enough to also register in addition to back in January 2005 when this site took life. Well, now there is another Mom in Chief, in addition to Michelle Obama and me. There is blogger with that domain name and a book deal to match. Her book is set to come out in February 2009. Her blog miraculous sprung to life the day after Michelle first used those words in August 2008. I'm sure this other MIC is a perfectly fine writer with a perfectly nice book, and fantastic connections (apparently) in the publishing industry. Do I sound bitter?

I suppose I wouldn't be filled with disdain for her if I was having a smoother transition from writer to author. I just don't understand how you go from concept to published book in six months flat. If I did, my book would have hit the market 18 months ago. In the meantime, I'm still working, still researching agents, still feeling optimistic, although ever-so-slightly annoyed. I am still confident, however, that my project will eventually reach the people who need it. At least I wasn't planning on calling my book Mother in Chief. At least my book isn't about balancing a career with parenthood. Then I'd probably be really, really annoyed.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Shock and awe

Revelations come on the way earthquakes hit—there is no warning. And only afterward can we look back and be amazed at the magnitude of what has happened.

Sure Kindergartener has been sick frequently, but he isn’t in the hospital. Preschooler has adjusted to his new school and is no longer at risk for being kicked out for bad behavior. I’m deciding which graduate programs to apply to. While I haven’t landed an agent or a publishing contract, I’m confident that I will accomplish those things. It is just a matter of determination and time. I’m working on a project with a non-profit to improve California’s healthcare system. I’ve been traveling and enjoying my own company and the company of friends I don’t see frequently. I’m planning a trip to break in my new passport.

And despite all that stuff I’m doing for me, I’m still a parent. I’m still a caretaker. And it just dawned on me ... I think I found it—balance. Balance. I feel whole again. I feel like I’ve woken up from a deep and lonely sleep. I’ve put myself on the priority list again because I count. I matter. I have dug my way out of the rubble.

All I needed, apparently, was to do more things for me. And in order to do that, I needed to let go. I needed to come to the conclusion that my kids are going to be just fine, even if they aren't with me all of the time. Hired help may not have the same motivation as grandparents, but they can still love my kids, teach them things, and be a positive influence on their development. Since family isn’t down the street or around the corner, that is all I have.

This thing called balance is delicate and elusive—it’s taken me almost six years to find it—so I intend to treat it with the respect it deserves, in an attempt to not fall off kilter again.