the teeter totter days

For the month of December, I am participating in Gwen Bell’s The Best of 2009 Blog Challenge. The challenge is to respond to a daily writing/photo prompt that reflects on this past year. Oh, and if you want to join me I would love to hear your stories and memories, leave a comment or a link to your site.

12/9: Challenge

When I think about this past year, it feels like peering into a dreamy vintage photograph. The photograph is a self-portrait. My back faces the camera. I sit in front of a laptop at the kitchen table where mail piles up around me. I scribble a story idea on the back of a recycled envelope.

snow day dec 09

L, my 18 month-old, runs into the kitchen and tells me stories about birds, buses, and trucks. He tries to get my attention by opening a cupboard that cannot be baby proofed except for sealing it with duct tape, which makes it not only impractical, but also useless. The cat’s food dish is near the cupboard, and I’m thankful that the thrill of eating cat food is gone.

Instead, he pulls out a roll of masking tape, throws his head triumphantly back, giggles, and runs off into the living room with his newly found prize possession. This is our game. I chase after him with broken thoughts and sentences left on the screen.

This is what he wants, and even when I can’t see it, I do too. Together, we wear cardboard space helmets and travel to the moon. We dance to small intros between the news aired on public radio.

Then we snack, read, and finally it’s time for his nap. On a good day, he naps for two hours, on others forty-five minutes to an hour.

I resume my seat in the kitchen and try to recall where I left off. Long before we journeyed to the moon and back and danced salsa between news reports about recent bombings in Afghanistan. I push myself back into the writing space. Thirty minutes left. The page glares at me, empty, white, and still.

Words hesitate, they rise and fall like musical notes. In time, I press them into the page. I search for stories inside the photograph.

A few paragraphs in and my internal editor saunters in, tears the photograph of words into small pieces. They fall like snow in the kitchen. I push her out the front door, and promise to invite her over to help with the next draft. Until then, I’m doing just fine on my own, thank you, and by the way it helps to be polite.

A page or two later L wakes from his nap. I stop writing and we begin again. Play. Run. Dance. This is the photograph, the memory of us – I remind myself in the midst of a looming deadline. I scribble one word on the back of a napkin.


It’s much easier to read than practice, but I’m giving it my best.


  1. Julie Jordan Scott says

    From a Mom whose baby is about to head off to college in the Fall, enjoy each moment. The writing will fit its way in, I promise you, it will. And it has, in this blog post. See what I mean?

  2. Flo Makanai says


    It’s much easier to read than practice, but I’m giving it my best."

    So am I…!
    That's a really nice post, thanks a lot.

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