Been camping for the last four days and now I’m off to the annual Pacific NorthWest Writer’s Association writing conference for the next four. I have so much to say that I don’t have time to process, so this post will have to serve as my journal, I suppose.
Camping was a riot! We borrowed the neighbors’ RV and took off early to meet my mom and her husband at a gorgeous campground at the base of Mount Hood. I literally couldn’t stop smiling for the first 120 miles, I was so excited. Bubba is not a fan of camping – he prefers a soft hotel bed and a hot shower every day. This place? No electricity. No running water. Toilets? Well, if you’re willing to dig a hole, you’ve got one! I love it. We were stocked with hot dogs, marshmallows, Hershey’s bars, fruit, chips, bottled water and wine, and plenty of blankets to snuggle up in at night. We canoed, fished, threw toys for the dog to fetch in the lake, hiked, cooked over a campfire, and sang silly songs. Even Bubba enjoyed himself.
The hard part came when Bubba and I left. He had to fly out early Wednesday morning for Boston and I had to get the RV back to the neighbors. The girls wanted to stay an extra day with their grandparents, so early Tuesday morning, we sat down to a big breakfast of bacon and eggs (cooked over the fire) and said our goodbyes. Well, sobbed our goodbyes. Eve and I were the biggest crybabies. I was a little furious that, even though we had planned this trip six months in advance, Bubba went ahead and booked a business trip to Boston on the last day. I was even more furious that it meant he had enlisted his parents to pick our girls up from my mom’s house and watch them until he got back from his trip after he had promised to be there for them while I went to the conference. Add to that the fact that I won’t see the girls again until Sunday night when I get home, and it was a recipe for a boatload of tissues.
So this morning, I’m home alone, doing laundry and packing and readying myself for the conference. I’ve got a list of errands to run a mile long and while I know I’ll be much more efficient doing it without my girls in the back seat, I miss them so much my stomach aches. Even though I know I can go to yoga tonight without anyone whining that dinner stinks without me here, I would take their whining over the silence. It is such a balancing act to find space for my two passions – writing and mothering. I woke up first at the campsite yesterday morning, brought the dog out and started a fire. I stood and watched the flames for over an hour, trying to find a way to convince myself to blow off the conference and stay with the girls. I reasoned that it would save my in-laws a trip and two days of watching the girls. I would just send Bubba home with the RV and then the girls and I could ride the train home from Mom’s house together and not miss a minute of camping fun. I nearly did it. In fact, I think I did convince myself at one point, but when I truly listened to the deeper wisdom of giving myself this gift of time and space to write, it became harder.
I know that simply walking through these days, aching for my girls but serving myself and my other passion will help me grow. I would like to think that I can blame all of my angst on Bubba. That if he were just here to be with the girls like he promised I wouldn’t feel so badly, but I don’t think that’s true. I know that they will be safe and have fun with his parents and, even though they miss me, they will learn to trust that I will come back and be their mother just as before. That deeper wisdom, although constant, is very subtle, though, and the louder, keening wail of missing my girls threatens on the surface and is hard to push through.
In the meantime, I’ve got two appointments with agents on Friday to “speed pitch” my completed manuscript. I suppose my time is best spent figuring out how the hell to do that. If I can come home with some new tricks up my writer’s sleeve and having learned how to spend time in my own skin, this weekend will have been a success.