Monthly Archives: May 2016

Changes Other Parents Don’t Warn You About

Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.

~ Elizabeth Stone.

This quote made complete sense to me the first time I laid eyes on my son, but there were many other momentous experiences I was – and still am – not prepared for.

Parenting strengthens the heart, and I don’t mean by the love a child fills you with. I want to cry with my son every time he cries, especially when I can’t take away his pain. I have to keep my tears hidden, because he needs me to be strong.

It strengthens the stomach. From puke to blood to poop. I’ve seen it all, I’ve smelled it all, and I’ve had to clean up every drop and chunk. Not fun, but it has to be done. I can’t afford to add my puke to his, because that would mean more to clean up, and no one likes to see other people puke, especially a parent.

It strengthens the body. I discovered I’m a lightning bolt with stubby legs when I see my son in danger. One time we played on a sandbar when Tom was not yet two. He wandered into the water and fell into a hole. I never ran so fast in my life. He didn’t go but six inches under water when I had him in my arms and returned to the shore. I did it all in about 3/4 of a second, but it felt like twelve minutes.

It strengthens the nerves. Bugs and insects don’t bother me. There are plenty I don’t like, though. Wasps being one of them. Ugly creatures. But I don’t run away screaming when I see one. I just think they’re ugly with their skinny little bodies. One insect does make my skin crawl, and that’s a tick. They’re also ugly, but what creeps me out is how they can crawl all over you, suck your blood, and you don’t feel a thing. I see one crawling on me and it takes all my wherewithal to remove it and either flush it down the toilet or burn it.

Right before Tom stepped into the shower this evening, he called me into the bathroom and asked me to remove something from his hair (you know where this is going, don’t you?). At first it looked like a piece of caramel stuck in his hair, but then I noticed the shape. My first instinct was to call my husband and tell him to remove it. He was in the garage, however, so I steeled myself, grabbed a pair of tweezers and removed it all by myself. I then flushed it down the toilet.

I was proud of myself, not only that I removed it all by my lonesome, but that I managed to not cringe or make weird noises and faces as I did so. Like with everything else, my son needed to see me calm, so he wouldn’t freak out.

That’s not to say I didn’t shudder after I left the bathroom, or that my skin isn’t crawling with the heebie-jeebies as I write this. Because I did, and I am.

Work Is A Four Letter Word

I’ve been wanting to write an entry for a week now, but every subject that pops into my head soon fizzles as boring and worthless.

Even now I’m considering holding the delete button down until every word I’ve written so far disappears.

How often do you go through your previous accomplishments and think, “Wow. That’s some good stuff?”

Part of me winces at the thought, because it smacks of pride, and doesn’t “Pride go before the fall?”

Regardless, I think it, and worse, I believe it. I have written some good stuff. I just wish I could do it all the time.

If I dig a bit deeper, it’s not only that. I don’t want to have to work hard to accomplish it. Some people seem to write the good stuff without much effort. They’re inspired by little things they see every day, whereas I have to spend days – if not weeks – searching for even a smidgeon of an idea – many of which never take root.

I know I’m being overly harsh on myself. I am who I am; my gifts, desires and talents are unique to me, and I shouldn’t compare myself to others. No. That’s not quite true either. I need to look at what other people accomplish, not with envy or jealousy, but as a way to motivate me to do better. I need to work hard, so when I look back I can say with complete honesty, “I did good.”

And I do. For the most part. Just not as often as I think I should.

Then again, there’s nothing wrong with working hard to achieve a goal. Working hard is what makes us appreciate our accomplishments more. If it were too easy, then it’s not a real accomplishment.

To use an example, let’s say I run around a track in five minutes, but I cross the finish line at the same time as someone wearing prosthetic legs. Which one of us accomplished more?

For me at least, I shouldn’t write because it’s easy. I do it because it’s hard. Maybe not all the time, but often enough. That way, when I do succeed, I can be proud of myself. While pride may make us stumble, it can also motivate us to continue to strive for success. Like everything else in life, it’s a matter of finding balance – and being honest.

“Never go to excess, but let moderation be your guide.”

~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

It ain’t bragging if it’s true.

~ Will Rogers

About 1 in 5,000

Those are my chances of winning the Writers Digest 85th Annual Writing Competition. I’m thinking even those odds are a bit optimistic.

I’m sure they receive tens of thousands of entries, so for mine to stand out among so many, it has to be perfect. That means zero spelling or grammatical errors, and a story that grabs readers from the first sentence and won’t let go until they read the final word. Even then, there’s no guarantee the judges will even like the story. Is it too graphic? Not enough? Do they expect a story that makes a political or social point?

The first part I can control, the second and third are entirely subjective and out of my hands. Hence the long odds. I think my story is awesome, but that’s just me — and only me.

I’ll find out by October 10th whether or not the judges liked my story. The winners will receive significant prizes, but I honestly don’t care about them. I’m looking at bragging rights; one more credit I can add to my query letters to gain the interest of agents and/or publishers.

All in all, if I don’t win or place, all I’ve lost is a bit of time and the $25 entry fee. If I don’t win, I’ll share the losing story. Ha! I’m sure that piqued your interest, right, because who doesn’t want to read a story the judges of a contest thought worthy of only a garbage can?