I desperately wanted to attend the “This I Believe” seminar put on by my local radio station. The seminar helps prospective writers create an essay for possible airtime on a national radio show. When I first learned of the seminar I called the station and was put on a long waiting list. I was thrilled a few weeks later when they called to tell me they had opened another seminar and I was in. I assumed it was on a Saturday like the others and didn’t even check the date.
I’ve wanted to be a writer since my first memory. As a baby I literally ate books and as a toddler I remember puzzling out the newspaper headlines. Before I entered preschool I was a voracious reader. When we were little girls Ruth and I talked about the books we would write. We were crushed when our childhood home was torn down– where would our fans make their pilgrimage to? The Austen home still stands, so does the Brontes!
But marriage and children came and my writing has been sketchy ever since. I publish something here and there but I have never found a mentor and still feel really clueless. I hoped the seminar would give me direction.
I looked at the calendar yesterday and realized it was the 12th! My seminar! Elation turned to grief as I looked at the evening ahead of me. Erik would be enroute to Denver, the kids needed dinner, Family Home Evening, Xander needed violin music, Hans had birthday party invitations to create and deliver and Ben had piles of homework.
I could leave them. They would survive; but they wouldn’t thrive. Attending the “This I Believe” seminar would go against everything I believe in.
I phoned in my cancellation and got to work. I drove Ben and Hans to piano. Went to Smith’s for Mary’s asthma prescriptions and a few groceries. Came home and started dinner while supervising Xander’s homework. I went to pick up Ben and Hans when Erik came flying in the door; “I forgot one of my suitcases. I won’t have time to park– can you drive me to the airport?”
Thirty minutes later I was home. The kids had eaten dinner without me so I supervised clean up–“You have to load ALL the dishes in the dishwasher not just the ones closest to you.” ” I’m glad you wiped the table; now sweep the floor.” “The dishes aren’t done if the sink looks like someone just threw up in it!”
Then a quick family home evening: Xander gave a little talk about hand washing during the season of sickness and Stefan gave a lesson on how to be nice to people. 1. Don’t bring up embarrassing stories about people. 2. Give lots of compliments. 3. Show “polite interest” in people’s hobbies. And my favorite: 4. Accept people the way they are.
Stefan and Ben settled into homework while the rest of us created fabulous Harry Potter birthday party invitations. We spent the next 30 minutes delivering the invites, laughing and joking with each other. And cleverly(I must say), I called a mother of one of the invitees and borrowed the violin music Xander needed.
Home again for treats, family prayer, pajamas, stories and bed. As I was tucking sweet Gabriel into his Superman sheets I glanced at the clock– 8:45 p.m. — just about the time I would be getting home from the seminar.
This I Believe– my family comes first. The world doesn’t have a desperate need for great writers but it does have a need for mothers who care. I don’t have to be a Supermom– I just have to show up!