By the time we arrived home velvet blackness had covered the valley and a dinner plate moon hung over the mountains. Kellie and I crept to the basement dodging stuffed animals, legos and discarded pillows as we sought our children’s sleeping forms. I kissed them on the nose and lips and forehead, tasting sunscreen and sweat and wondering what their day had held.
The writing conference went beautifully, wonderfully, with fantastic instruction, fascinating attendees and incredible food. The lack of air conditioning and the tripped fire alarm only increased the excitement– because really, what’s the thrill of a perfectly executed event? Because it was held at Erik’s office I was the go-to girl for missing chairs, trash can liners and WiFi passwords. I pray I wasn’t too short or impatient with anyone, but I’m afraid I was too exhausted and overwhelmed to be truly friendly. It’s normal, isn’t it, to wish I could have done better?
I slept late this morning, until sunlight eased open my eyes. Shuffling into the kitchen wearing eyeglasses and a pink robe, I was greeted by Xander (always the first awake) who regaled me with tales of his bicycle crash and proudly displayed his assortment of scrapes and bandages. Soon Mary appeared with her dandelion fluff hair and crawled into my lap. I traced my finger across her freckled nose and marveled at her gold-flecked eyes.
Gabriel emerged from the basement in his too-small pajamas and dove towards me. He and Mary scuffled for dominance until I stood up and rearranged us all–“I have plenty of lap for both of you!” Their long lean arms and legs tangled around mine as they described their day at the lake with Erik (surely he is vying for sainthood?) and the key lime pie at dinner.
I loved the conference. Beautiful, well-crafted writing is intensely important to me, as are my friendships with other women. But my ambitions, my dreams of a novel or a memoir, will never rival the people spilling milk across the counter, banging on the piano, and laughing from bedroom, right here at home.