Yesterday was weird. First of all, I actually submitted a story, an occurrence which happens about as often as a solar eclipse. Here's my modus operandi: I get ready to submit, and then I read over the piece, and then—for a variety of reasons, some ridiculous and some not so ridiculous—I demur. I repeat this many times as the deadline looms ever and ever closer. And then nine times out of ten I decide I'm a horrible writer, and I don't send the piece. Today, though, I was in an inexplicable throw-caution-to-the-wind mood, a start-living-or-start-dying mood, a get-over-it-you-dork mood, a what's-the-worse-that-could-happen mood. Like that. So, almost without thinking, I sent a little story out into the mean, mean world.
Also yesterday, while meeting with a non-profit group to discuss (yet again) ways to engage our Spanish-speaking parents more fully with our school culture, I was offered a job. This gave me great pause. "Your kids are older now," said the job-offerer, a lovely woman whose personality can convince an entire room filled with less-than-inspired people that their greatness is yet to be revealed. She knows this about my kids because she also offered me a job four years ago. "You gotta move on, girl," she added, one eyebrow raised.
And there is something to what she says. Really, how much longer do I remain in the rabid school-volunteer phase of my life? Soon the kids will be off to scary Middle School, where parent services are not so in-demand, and then what will I do with myself? The obvious answer is: write, stupid. But the truth is that I write more when my schedule is constricted. Leave me free and easy, and I will loll about doing very little. Fill up my calendar, and I grow determined to squeeze in writing time. Frankly, a job would help—not hinder—my output (it would do little for the state of my house, but that's another subject altogether).
Later, I broached the subject of Mothers Who Work Somewhere Besides Home with my children. The two older ones thought it would be "cool" for me to work. "Mom," said Vida, "I want you to be excellent."
I almost asked, "What do you mean? Am I not now excellent?" But then I decided that was a can of worms best left unopened. I turned to my youngest, and she squeezed her face up as if someone had pinched her really hard, began to cry, and said, "No, mama, no..."
Then one of the twins berated her, and she ran off weeping to her room. The other twin then berated the berating twin, and went to comfort her crying sister.
I ate some potato chips.
It was all too much for me, really.
And then later in the evening, I attended a PTA meeting at which much of the Latino outreach work we've done so far this year bore fruit. Big, fat, delicious, low-hanging fruit. I went to sleep very happy.
Still, weird day.