Years ago when I first started writing my children were all young and the formidable task of ‘writing around them’ was daunting.
I remember one time in particular when one of my two-year-old twins, Danielle, known lovingly as Chicky, had just settled down beside me to help or hinder my writing. She contributed a few words of dialogue consisting mainly of a few well-placed “Mommys,” spiced with a few unintelligible words or praise or criticism.
When she left the room, I breathed a sigh of relief and raced to get a few thoughts on paper before she came back. But alas, she’d gone into the kitchen to get the box of cereal I left on the counter and was off sharing it with her brother.
Should I have been delighted she was sharing for a change? Or angry because she snitched the cereal and hid in the laundry room? If I hadn’t beaten our dog with my child-psychology book years before that, I could have looked for the answer. (A note to all the dog-lovers who are about to call the Humane Society. Our dog was much larger and harder bound than the book, and he loved the extra attention.)
That’s the way my writing life went for years. The moment I thought I had the most subtle, cynically amusing thought, matching the excellence of an Erma Bombeck or a Judith Viorst mapped out in my head, I was interrupted.
I remember thinking that if it weren’t for my kids, I would’ve been famous years ago. I could’ve sat beside Johnny Carson when he was still doing the Tonight Show and chatted amicably about my latest thought-provoking novel or my charming little anecdotes on life, If it wasn’t for the endless “MOMMYS”.
“Mommy, Mommy, Mommy…”
“Mom, what is…?”
“Mom, can I have a snack?”
“Mom, would you tie my shoe?”
“Mother, if you don’t keep those twins out of my room…”
“Mom, why is it raining outside?”
“Mom, where is my homework…my lunch…my shoes…my coat?”
“Mom, if you’re not doing anything important, can you…”
And, believe it or not, I was a lot more prolific back then.