On what a true gift is

So Jessica is off to be with her father for a few days and though I do not immediately close the door behind her and yell “Yee-haw!” before laying in supplies of 1800, I would be lying if I said I don’t adore having some time and space to myself.

I would also be lying if I did not admit it gets very dull around here by the second day. That is because there is no one sitting next to me on the sofa saying, “We need music. Also we should bake some cookies.”

There is not a day that cannot be improved by the addition of music and cookies, but left to my own devices I will neither bake cookies nor listen to music. Also, I will fail to employ Douglas the Turquoise Dragon as an editorial assistant, I will forget to light incense, I won’t pick up when Randy calls because I am busy working, and I will run out of tea because there is no one to remember to put it on the grocery list.

I get mountains of work done. I work as much as any three normal people. I get a truly impressive number of things marked off the to-do list and I experience a great deal of personal satisfaction thinking, there are not very many people as productive as I am.

But I will fail to notice what phase the moon is in: full or gibbous or crescent; I will not have time for frozen yogurt and desultory conversation at Three Spoons; I will not remember that today is the one-day-only showing of The Princess Bride down at the art theatre; I will consider it too much trouble to stop by Wheatfield’s for walnut sage bread and asiago ciabatta; and I will walk by the flowers at the grocery store and not stop to bring any home.

When she is away, I will create whole worlds and populate them with people I have made up whole cloth, and that is a deeply meaningful and important part of my life, but when she comes home, she makes sure that I exist in a real world, too, where the kitchen smells like vanilla and brown sugar, and George Strait is singing Amarillo by Morning, and the daisies are always in bloom.    


  1. Awww. Sweet. You definitely deserve some “down time,” no matter that, for you, down time is high in productivity!

  2. Jennifer, can so relate to this. Only kids are grown, and replaced by a sweet Shih Tzu, Charley, and a loving Lhasa Apso, Sammy. They keep me in the real world; stop writing and pay attention to me, is it treat time, let’s go outside, I need a hug and a pat! Yep, without them, I’d be alone, at the computer, in PJs, writing! Some days I’d love to have a “Jessica” to do fun stuff with! Lucky you!

  3. Lovely. It’s amazing the gifts our children give us. I used to be massively productive when my youngest was at preschool for 3 hours 3 days a week. But I at least can’t work at that pace forever, so it’s wonderful to have kids who make you turn away from work and refuel your inner self.

  4. What a beautiful Mother’s Day piece! I think all mothers can relate, but especially mothers who work at home (e.g., freelance writers) and have to walk a tightrope balancing their time between their kids’ needs and their own need to meet deadlines. Love it that our kids can make our own inner children come out and play (and in the process, contribute to our mental and emotional health)! Looking back, I wish I’d spent more time “playing dollhouse” with my own daughter and less time fretting about completing assignments.

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