Our college invited author Jamaica Kincaid to campus as part of this year’s Artist and Lecture series. It had been a long day for me by the time she arrived. I had one kid at home sick, who I was calling every few hours. I went home at noon and made him lunch. The rest of the day included donor and scholarship meetings, microlending and planned giving strategies, fundraiser and board meeting conversations.
As the evening began, I was the hostess of the pre-lecture reception. I was chatting, handing out books, and making sure the President knew where the microphone was.
I sat down to dinner next to one of our English faculty and a guest I hadn’t met yet. Her nametag literally said “guest”, she attended with her sister. As we chatted, it turned out she was a blogger too. Her blog, Daughter on Duty, is a thoughtful account of the realities of being a caregiver for an aging parent.
As the evening went on, I sat between my new friend and the English faculty, discussing the power of writing. I learned a number of things…
1. I write because I have to. I have to get that feeling, those words, out of myself and on paper, it’s healing.
2. I write in case it helps someone else. The comments that say. “Thank you, you made my day”, or “your story is an inspiration, I am forwarding this to my daughter who could use some inspiration”. Those comments and the feeling that I might help someone else makes it all worth it.
3. It’s time to be brave. I have heard this from several people recently, so apparently I need to hear it. I’m brave in a number of ways but with sharing my writing, not so much. I know that sounds ridiculous because I have a blog. But, I don’t share this much with people I know. What if they don’t like it? What if they realize I’m a single mom of three kids working everyday on being the best person and mom I can be? Oh here’s the worst, what if they feel sorry for me? I don’t need any of the “poor Tanya, I don’t know how she does it” vibe. I’m making lemonade here, you can all join me, but please don’t tell me it’s sour. I’m filling the lemonade with mama and kid love, which is the sweetest sugar there is.
So on I go with today, scrambled eggs, headache medicine for a kid, lending a scarf to another kid. On I go to drop kids off at school, lead a nonprofit organization with vision, and embrace this day with bravery, compassion and love.