Friday, August 26, 2011
It has been a busy summer babysitting my grandchildren, my daughter's in July and my son's in August. All in all it amounted to six weeks with these dear ones, ages 1, 4-1/2, 4-3/4, and 6.
Wow, I was quite unprepared being full-time Mommy again, when you consider I went from writing 20 hours a week in my quiet home office and daily lunches on the patio with my husband, but what a wonderful way to get close to one's grandchildren.
I had been insanely jealous of two friends who regularly spent time with theirs, as all are just a short drive away. Mine are 13 hours and an air trip away. I think I may have beat them this summer though on Grandma time. I am now an expert on Thomas the Train, Bob the Builder, Wii Mario, and Lightning McQueen and all the other cars. Plus, I had a good refresher course on changing diapers, morning routines, picky and not-so picky eaters, playing ball (all kinds), bikes with training wheels, finding playgrounds at the park, story times at the library, and good places to eat ice cream. Whew, what a busy time we had. Chatter, chatter, chatter all day long, and those little feet moved nonstop.
While gone, my husband was left in charge of a tree from Home Depot still waiting to be planted, a small vegetable garden, and other plantings. As he is not normally inclined in this direction, I was on the phone constantly, reminding him to water everything. Funny, not once during this process did I remember to ask him to water my house plants or feed my new fish, a sweet little blue betta.
When he arrived in California two weeks later, he was so proud of himself having taken care of everything. It was then, and only then, that I remembered the fish and the houseplants. Ouch! I was sure they would be dead after 3 weeks! But guess what? The houseplants survived and so did the betta. Bettas are amazing!! They are the perfect fish for the negligent pet owner.
I really need to get the word out. Bettas are for you, if pets aren't your thing. I came home full of remorse, but the little guy was no worse for the wear and was swimming around happily in his foodless cage like nothing in the world was wrong. My daughter had actually recommended I get a betta, when I protested that her dad and I traveled too much. Come to think of it, I do sort of remember her telling me that these critters actually survive in mud puddles in the wild, so I guess his sterile cage complete with colored rock and plastic flowers is a grade up, right? Can you believe it?
Sadly, during my stay in California (and husband's, since he came for 1 week) we received the shocking news that a dear nephew (only 30 years old) had died. It has stopped the family in its tracks and we are all still processing the news. It will require another trip and helping out wherever there is a need. The day I found out, it was my birthday and the family in California was preparing a party for me.
We had the party and it was joyful, complete with mushy kisses on the cheek from my 2 grandsons but it was also bittersweet knowing that our extended family was grieving, a grief my husband share as well. I still remember caring for this nephew as an infant, along with his two little sisters so his parents could take a holiday in Cancun. It's hard to believe his short life is now over, and indeed it was SHORT. The old die first, right? I will grapple with this shocking, sad news for months to come. I know his parents will grieve for a lifetime.
Now after being back one full day, my quiet life with my husband feels like pure luxury. I am eager to start back on my writing and need to establish a solid writing routine again. My writing partner, who I check in with weekly, is already urging me to get started. I only worked 10 hours or so on my book during the six-week period. Although my rewrite is complete, I have been putting it through a thorough check for plot, and character and conflict development, and had found areas that needed another look.
After this revision, I will print it out again and begin a quick line edit (hopefully quick). Then I will send it off to a children writer's group I belong to for review. Meanwhile, I will start the long search for an agent and continue my ongoing study of the e-publishing market. Writing this book has been a long haul but I'm anxious to move on because I have so many other ideas for future books and I can't wait to get started.
Copyright 2011 © Sharon Himsl