“It seems to me that since I’ve had children,
I’ve grown richer and deeper.
They may have slowed down my writing for a while, but when I did write,
I had more of a self to speak from.”
– Anne Tyler
I don’t know why I’m following that quote with this post, other than those words speak to me at this moment. Those words are me at this moment, a suspended moment stretched over nearly seven years now.
I went on a field trip to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis with Mia’s class last Friday. She sat with me on the bus and rested her head on my shoulder. We giggled and took selfies and sat in that intimate space of propinquity where neither of us thought twice about tracing fingers along open palms (“Guess what I’m drawing, Mommy”) or erasing smudged cream cheese with a licked thumb. She wanted me there with her and I wanted to be there for her, but I would be lying if I didn’t look at the day’s map before me and not feel a slight twinge that the next time I sat down to write would probably be the following day.
I was right. But also, it didn’t matter in the end.
At one point close to the end of the day, my little group was in the construction zone. They had climbed to the top of a crane installation and from there Mia yelled down to me, “Hi, Mama!” She shouted it in front of her classmates and strangers. She didn’t care who heard as long as her voice reached me, and a thought struck me: We’re in the sweet spot.
Gone are the days when she needs me with her to make every move. I don’t need to watch everything that she does for fear of putting foreign objects in her mouth or climbing on something or falling down the stairs. She can disappear into her bedroom or playroom and I don’t need to check on her every five minutes. She has playdates and I don’t need to worry about orchestrating crafts and games to fill the time and keep little minds and hands entertained and occupied.
And yet we haven’t reached the age where I become an embarrassment. Where my presence is more burdensome than welcome, more shadow than light. I know my days are numbered in this place where I’m her first choice for companion. All too soon I won’t be a companion at all. I know that. I don’t know how I will deal with that once it comes, but I know it will it arrive one day. And one day I will have whole stretches of hours to devote to writing. For now, I’m reveling in the sweet spot, and I’ll remember her call from the top of that crane whenever I lose sight of it.