There’s this thing I think when I ambitiously plan what is beyond my capabilities that I keep reminding myself – but for some reason it doesn’t come to the forefront after its been left on the back burner in some corner of my mind often enough. I’ve attempted in the past to teach what I do not know myself. What is it that makes me think that I can do that? Is it drive or complete and utter ignorance of what should be the fine line for my limitations looming on the other side?
It’s late and I’m embarrassed to admit it but I finished my first of my beach reading books just now all in the first day of the trip. 298 pages of reread captivating lines mingled with phrases and paragraphs I dubbed unimportant proceeding to skim through – I’d finished it; stolen reading opportunities in between a morning at the pool, vegging at the kitchen table in a sticky bathing suit in the afternoon, cooking dinner, vocabulary lessons with the kids, and a mosquito bitten after dinner evening walk for ice cream cones until book one is now finished. My beach books- well loved paperbacks neatly packed with fresh square covers that vacation molts into thrift store pass-on books after being tossed in the sand, glossed with sunblock remnants, rippled bottom pages from leaning against my damp bathing suit in between swigs of bitter iced tea- dripping yet more liquid – in the form of condensation – onto the paused pages when I gaze across the pool at my kids – surprised that despite all of the chatter I can pick out the distant sound of my son clearing his throat from the chlorinated water as being ‘mine’ before springing forward with his friends – engaged in a game.
My reading today: The Wednesday Sisters – about five friends who meandered through life’s situations initially through a writing group that grew to be lifelong friendships reminded me that the scariest things just need to start somewhere and can be done. It’s set in the 60’s and I marvel at the author’s ability to make the time believable to me. Like teaching what I don’t know, I also am blocked in writing; how can I write what I haven’t experienced?
This week on vacation it loops around to another year and I can’t help but think about where we were the previous year- not the place but where were we? What were the kids doing; what were the dreams we had as being something that once achieved we could hope for no better; what did I fear or anticipate in the coming year? How many years ago did I start writing a book I thought I’d finish quickly to let it languish- untouched in the memory bank of a dusty laptop. How could I write what I haven’t lived?
Last year we let our children peddle their bikes to the grocery store for the first time – giving them cash and a verbal list – eagerly anticipating their safe return. This year, they head out on destinationless journeys on bicycles -told only to stay together and come back soon. There was a year that they didn’t leave the security of a firm grasp and we didn’t know how to let go that first year they seemed ready – but we did. This year I’m afraid of the impending high school entry for my daughter; scared of how quickly she will change over four short years’ time and how she’ll find her way or more so how I will find mine in parenting her through it.
I think about writing at the beach because it’s one time I have no access to a paintbrush or a piece of old furniture but am left in my own thoughts with still the same amount of pent up
creative energy. I think about teaching what I’m not, nor ever may be, an expert in, and parenting a girl who’s reached an age only I’m not ready for. I wonder about someday trying to finish a book about a place I’ve never been like the girls in The Wednesday Sisters and publishing it someday. Even though I push the thoughts away in thinking anything is possible since it usually gets me into trouble – I know stranger things have happened. You just find the way. Tomorrow it’s a three mile bike ride to yoga on the beach at sunrise. Goodnight.