My kids have grown. They’re my babies and always will be, but we’re past the diapers, toddler story time, bottles, learning to count, tying shoes, and nursery rhymes. I loved that stage. I felt happy in that space. I understood it and was comfortable. Where it wasn’t easy, and it had a lot of days full of chaos and meltdowns, I knew the routine and what my children needed in large part. And I enjoyed it. I loved getting down on the floor and playing games with them, having a little buddy at my side, and someone to laugh with. Goofy was always a must. Dress-up’s? Yes! Farting contests? I admit, we had those too, and it was hilarious.
School started and my little people are gone now. I sent them off this morning with a hug, a positive thought, and a wave goodbye. My little man, Peter, just started first grade. He sent me off with, “Mama, how will you be okay without me? Wait, how will I be okay without you?” He paused and hugged my leg. “Mama, I miss you already.”
Did I cry? You bet I did. I had a long cry, and then I did affirmations in my car about what I had to look forward to.
You’re probably wondering how this relates to writing. Hold on. I’m getting there.
Over the summer, I really wanted to make a point to embrace every moment I had with my kids, before they went to school. At first, I wondered how and when I would have time to write, but decided I would figure it out and enjoy the now with my children. I would cherish the stage of life I was in. To be present. I spent the day with them, and at night, I sat with my computer for a while nurturing my words. For two weeks, I turned off Facebook and all social media sites. That was a pretty radical move for me, but I was present with my kids and everything around me. And when I had writing time . . . I wrote.
To be in the moment of where you are, who you are with, and to just “be.” The dictionary states that it means current, existing, and to occur now.
A few weeks ago, we went to the zoo. This lady sat across from me at the splash pad. She had dark hair, and a red bandana tied up on her head. Her eyes were only on one thing . . . her daughter. You could tell by the way she looked at the little girl, that she was this woman’s whole world. It was a hot day, but the lady wore long pants, and a tank top. Colorful caterpillar tattoos covered her right arm. On her left side, she was missing her other arm. I couldn’t help but wonder about her story. What she’d been through, and who she was. What was the meaning behind the colorful caterpillars all up and down her arms?
That’s how it started and then a story began. A character that intrigued me, that I wanted to know more about . . . awoke. If I’d been on my phone, I would’ve missed this strong character, with beautiful confidence and vulnerability. When I turn off the noise, look at my surroundings, listen to the conversations my children have, or take a walk and view nature . . . inspiration hits, and my creative fire ignites.
Writing comes in stages, just as life does.
We’re all going through it at different paces. We’re learning, and growing, struggling and trying to figure out the next step. None of our stories are the same. None of our lives are identical. We’re the protagonist and antagonist in our own lives. Sometimes, at the same time.
I’m in a new stage of life. I will experience things differently than my next-door neighbor, or a long-time friend. I’ll express openly. Maybe, some people are cheering that their kids are in school, and others feel like they’re lost on what to do now. Even if you don’t have children, we all understand letting go in some form. It can be, both tough and invigorating. This is where empathy comes into play toward yourself. There are seasons for every one of us. We may wish that our book is done, to have a novel published, to create a new story, or to be able to write hours at a time. There are moments this will indeed happen, and you’ll be on a roll, but at other times, it will be a slower rhythm than what you want. In those moments, be present, and focus on what you have done, not on what you haven’t accomplished. Keep going and don’t compare your journey to someone else.
The raw emotion behind your struggles, pain, joy, vulnerability, and personality, drive your characters to the page. Your stories awaken when you experience life, people, and the world. When you pause, get out of your comfort zone, and turn down the noise, you get to hear one voice . . . your own. Stop looking at what you don’t have, and really look at where you are, and how far you’ve come.
Most of all, be gentle. Go at your own pace. Send yourself a positive thought before you propel forward, and wave goodbye as you move to the next stage.
Lauri Schoenfeld’s first love is her little clan of three silly kidlets and her wonderful hubby, Andy. Writing is a close second. She began writing poems at the age of nine, and her love for literature and music developed into composing thirty songs. In 2014 her short story, Christmas Treasure, was featured in an anthology called, Angels from their Realms of Story. Her favorite genre to write is anything dark, psychological, and suspenseful, but she enjoys expanding her horizons and dipping her feet in other genres as well. Lauri teaches summer writing classes for kids and mentors teens throughout the year. She’s a Child Abuse and Scoliosis Survivor. Lauri runs a group for teen girls with Scoliosis called, The S Squad. Their motto is Strength, Support and Self Confidence. She’s been known to dance around the house with a spoon as her microphone and sneak toppings from the ice cream bar. Lauri’s taken online classes at the Institute of Children’s Literature and was the President of the League of Utah Writers, Oquirrh Chapter for two years. She’s a member of Crime Writers and International Thriller Writers.