Writing is about the only activity I love nearly as much as being the mom of the lovely Miss J. So two weeks ago, I stretched the silver cord of connection between Julia and I all the way to Kentucky. As the spring term rolled towards me I decided to register, keeping my steady march moving toward completing my MFA. My wonderful mom came to Manhattan from Michigan, I booked a flight to Kentucky, packed my bags, books and black Mac laptop, and ahead to the airport.
“How are you feeling?” the nanny asked as she trailed me from the apartment, from my daughter, from my home, to the elevator.
“ My stomach is in knots… This is hard,” I said, hoping she’d ignore the sight of my eyes, shiny with tears.
The next morning I woke up at The Brown Hotel, between the cool, luscious, high- thread count sheets to the sound of, well, nothing. No Julia morning chirping, no baby music songs. Solemnly I showered, dressed and checked the time. I bolted from the Brown with my binder of writer selections pre-selected for class discussion by the workshop leader, my workshop sample, ball point pens, highlighters, cell phone and work Blackberry. My clog clad feet sprinted along the two blocks that stretched to my classroom, my cell phone jammed under my left ear, my purse dangling from my right shoulder. Binder jammed under a pit. I hurried past a gnarled, curled tree whose strong bows held pom-pom sized magnolias, spraying out two stories high. The heavily scented air punche my nose. hard. I was far from New York City in so many ways.
“ Hi, Mom,” I said passing the public library, “How are my girls doing?”
“ Julia it’s your Mommy on the phone!” my mother said with enough volume so I could hear. And with that my stomach formed into a French knot, another loop, and another warm, exquisite torture.
“Say hi Julia! Say hi!”
Heavy breathing followed. Some days, when lucky , a BA ba, BA would rise into the receiver.
A week after Julia and I came home, back in February, Ronda gave my this advice. “When you’re working Mom, whereever you are you think you should be in the other place. Home? Work? You are constantly wishing things were different.”
I thought I understood her edict back in February, and again after I’d returned to work during the last dregs of March. Only now I really did. So, after two days of living solely as a writer, mothering by remote control, dialing in between lectures, and swimming in the warm waters of creatively and literature, I let go. I let grandma, be grandma. I trusted.
I’d forgotten how much I love the company of writers. Grad school, for me is a Petri dish of warm riches. A gift I can’t wait to share with my daughter.