My kids have been a bit latch-key-ish lately.
I’ve felt the guilt and the occasional shame of using babysitters and electronics to entertain them while I hunch over a computer or trudge through snowy streets working on stories. Between getting my novel all ship-shape for the January NYC Conference for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, writing Patch.com articles, and trying to maintain a fraction of a social life, my kids have resorted to some interesting literary experiments of their own.
For example, when I was in Austin, TX for a few days with my girlfriends last week, celebrating our friend’s 50th birthday, my two youngest children got to missing me. They wrote a 2-person poem which they proudly read to me upon my return. This is the poem, read by Nate, age 7 (N) and Maggie, age 11 (M):January 6, 2011 8:57pm N: I miss my mom. M: I miss her, too. N: She is in Texas for a party. M: She’ll be gone for four days. N: I’m going to call her in the morning. M: I want her to come home. N: But we both know what’s right. M: Moms need to have fun, too. N: We’re not going to spoil her fun. M: No, we won’t. N: But I still cry tonight. M: Thick tears that trip over each other. N: Does Mom miss us?
M: Is she crying, too?
N: Or is she out laughing?
M: While we cry our tears.
N: Over and over.
M: We glance at her photo, then we
N: cry some more.
M: Though tonight is the first of four,
N: we weep. We try not to.
M: But we can’t hold back.
N: So we let it come over us.
M: We weep.
Well, kids, thank you for that. It’s good to be home, back to where the drama lives. I’d missed it so very much while I was gone. It’s nice to know you haven’t lost your flair for the theater.
Of course, that first week back after a break from the routine is always hard. I usually refer to any “re-entry” from a vacation as pure hell. My mind drifts back to the lazy days spent on vacation, eating and drinking and laughing and being totally and utterly out of my environment.
Back on track, I tried to resume my normal routine, which includes a bi-monthly critique group meeting. While I was sitting at a Schaumburg, Illinois Border’s Books with my writing partners, my kids were home with a sitter, trying to get their homework done. Unfortunately, Nate was unable to complete his, and Maggie took it upon herself to write a note to Nate’s teacher, explaining what happened. My children are in a two-way Spanish/English bilingual education program, so the occasional Spanish tossed in is normal around the Wolf household:1/12/11 From Nate, por [by] Maggie (Nate’s hermana) [sister] Dear Senor Candamil, Our mother was not here over the night. Nate could not complete part of his homework because he was quite busy. He had what we think was a small allergic reaction to some soap he applied on his armpits, and therefore it was hard for him to write. So I (Maggie Wolf, his sister) helped write in things. He got the answers, but I wrote them down. Please excuse Nate — He will finish his 5.4 poligonos [polygon] sheet tomorrow. Gracias! Maggie Wolf
Lord help me.