Last week was exhausting, for me and my ex-husband. I was downtown for an intensive week of school—part of my MFA program. We were learning about the publishing industry and had the chance to meet with agents, editors and publishers about our own individual book projects.
My entire class was a nervous wreck. What if someone important liked our idea? What if they wanted to publish our book? Would we get book deals or totally flop? It was emotionally and physically draining. I was up nearly every day between 5:30 and 6:30 am to exercise and then I commuted downtown for a full day of school. By the time I got home, it was dark, the house was empty and I missed my kids terribly. It was great to see my classmates and mentors, and it was amazing to be doing something just for me, but it was hard nonetheless.
I’d arranged for the kids to have play dates after school, and then their dad would pick them up before dinner and have the kids sleep over. I’m sure chasing them around, putting them to bed, getting up at night and cleaning up the mess when one of our sons had explosive diarrhea at two in the morning was tiring. I know this because I do it by myself all the time… and when I came to pick up my kids at the end of the course, my ex was taking a nap.
The kids had fun but they were happy to be home. They made “I miss mommy” pictures at school and Ari made me a picture that made me cry: seven smiley-faced stick figures reading my published book. The caption read “best book ever.”
“Ari, it’s beautiful,” I gushed.
“Do you like it?” he asked? “Look, seven people are reading your book. Seven!”
It took him a long time to draw seven people, so seven must have felt like a lot. I hope one day my book will be published (and read by more than seven people), but it just goes to show how in tune they are with my feelings and emotions. Somehow, my dreams have become their dreams and their dreams are always mine. These pictures meant more to me than I realized. I appreciated all the people who helped me out this week: friends, boyfriend, teachers, ex-husband. I’m really trying to make something of myself—to make all my experiences matter—and I couldn’t do it alone.
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