Trampolining by moonlight

1071570_10151589945942632_184669496_oTonight, I was late coming home, because I’d been asked to talk about reviewing and entertainment writing with an evening journalism class at Eastern Michigan University.

So it was dark, a little after 8 p.m., when I parked on our street and let myself into the house. Lights were on, but the place was silent – in a way that NO house with a 5 year old and a 2 year old in it is silent.

I walked around and checked each empty room, puzzling out the possibilities. Joe’s car was in the driveway, so they had to have walked wherever they went. The nearby café we used to frequent for post-dinner smoothies recently closed, so that left the library down the block as the prime suspect.

I grabbed my keys, locked up, and trudged back out to the sidewalk.

But then I thought I heard faint giggles and voices, coming from somewhere in the area of our house.

Could Joe and the girls be outside, in our backyard, though the moon and the streetlights were the only sources of light at this point?

Yep. As I walked down our long driveway, I spotted silhouetted figures bobbing up and down on the trampoline, and heard peals of high-pitched, little girl laughter.

What the what? Continue reading

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A dream deferred (or surrendered?) to motherhood

While marking the one year anniversary of An Adequate Mom this week – a big thanks to all of you who stop in now and then – I thought I’d talk about something that’s haunted me for quite a while now.

In a strange but telling coincidence of timing, Lily was conceived within days of my return from two weeks at an artist colony in Lake Forest, Illinois called Ragdale. I’d earned a place there, during the competitive summer months, on the basis of a book manuscript excerpt that I’d submitted with my application.

Writing a book had been what my life had seemingly always been pointed toward. The first thing I remember saying in response to the “what do you want to be when you grow up?” question, posed by my grandfather while I, at age five, dried dishes in his kitchen, was, “An author.” (Yes, I later claimed “Avon lady” and “veterinarian” as career goals, at a time when playing with makeup and animals held great appeal, but I eventually came full circle. Good thing, since I never came to wear makeup in day-to-day life.)

I loved books and stories from the get-go. Once, when we’d driven the seven hours to my grandparents’ home in Clay City, Indiana and arrived late at night, my parents had told me it was too late for my grandfather to read to me. So what did I do? I waited until it sounded like everyone was asleep, grabbed my ragged copy of A. A. Milne’s “Winnie the Pooh,” and woke up my grandfather to read to me. The ritual was one of the main things I looked forward to in visiting my grandparents, and I wasn’t about to be cheated out of it because we arrived at an untimely hour – something completely out of my control.

A couple of years later, I sat at our family’s kitchen table with our humming blue electric typewriter, and I typed out, word for word, pages of various Nancy Drew books I had read. I liked playing at being a writer, and pretending I was in the act of creation rather than merely copying text. Continue reading