On the cover of one of my old journals, it says, “This is the role I play for myself, to be committed to my passions, to tell myself the truth as I know it, to act with integrity.”
I found the book in the bottom of my plastic bin of journals. Some are completely filled, others are in some form of a half-life. This particular one is full only because the last 15 pages were scribbled on by my son D., who was three, at the time.
The opening entry is dated July 14, 2000, and the first line I wrote says, “Well, it’s Bastille Day, and in relative terms, I feel as if I’ve been stormed.”
Although I don’t remember writing this 16 years ago, it sounded interesting enough. What the heck was going on? So I read it.
6:15 am – Wake up to the dogs barking. The fan is blowing loudly and I wonder if they’ve been barking for an hour.
6:20 am – D. wakes up. Goes downstairs to watch train video, and I get dressed. No time for a shower. Log onto email from work. Read messages about new outsourcing company screwing up. Answer as many of the 138 messages from the last few days that I can.
7:15 am – Bring D. to school. Sit with him for a few minutes. He doesn’t want me to leave; his teacher takes him to the window to watch me drive out.
7:45 am – Get home with Dunkin’ Donuts decaf and a coffee roll. Sugar is a comfort, but also practical because I have no time to toast and spread cream cheese on a bagel.
8:00 am – Pull together copy for new catalog. Fly through work—need to get back to D’s school for 10:00 am because a fire truck is coming and he wants me to see it.
10:00 am – Get to school; find out it will be a while before fireman comes. D. and two other kids sit in my lap, hold my arm. I take pictures.
10:25 am – Where is the fireman? Conference call at 11:00.
10:35 am – Finally, fireman arrives. Get through questioning – FAST. After 15 minutes, fireman says, “All done!” Thank God. Bring D. home—easier than trying to leave him for lunch. Set D. up with snack and a movie. Should be set for the call.
12:45 pm – Dash out the door just in time for D.’s haircut appointment. Phew. Can breathe for a few minutes.
1:10 pm – Put D. and his haircut in bed for a nap. Check email again. Put dogs out because they’re barking. More work issues during lunch—why can’t people get things right? Fortunately, D. is a good napper.
3:15 pm – Set up sprinkler to water the garden. More email. Finalize a poem and start reading someone else’s story for writer’s group tonight.
4:20 pm – Wake up D. so I can see him before I go. D. hangs all over me, and I love the attention. When I leave, D. cries because I’m taking the new (his) car.
5:40 pm – Get to Norm’s for writer’s group. Eat pizza. New member seems like she might work out. Start critiquing and all goes well until my poem is torn to shreds. One person tells me my poem reveals I’m too needy of my child. Peter and Beverly rescue me a little. But Peter also says I am not giving balanced enough feedback. He’s angry and dissatisfied.
10:15 pm – Outside, new member reassures me that Peter’s just angry—that I was very clear and reasonable in my approach. In my car, tears flow the whole way home. Don’t know why I’m crying—relationships, D. growing up, me not writing, mom’s cancer, Norm judging my age and inexperience, my poem not working—or is it because Charlotte Church is singing Amazing Grace and I feel graceless?
10:50 pm – I kiss D. on the cheek and he squeezes my hand. It looks like the moon is almost full. Start writing about my day in my journal. Someday, when I am not so young and inexperienced, I might want to read it.