The baby takes time. He has taken time.
Today we went ocean-ward and Avery looked years instead of months. His face changes. My hands age too. We watched the water shift around, caked sand on our feet, and accidentally ate a bit.
I admit this: I didn’t love staying at home. Mothering, I loved. Staying at home as mother, as all day mother, that was harder. It’s been two weeks since I stopped teaching and it’s taken the full duration of that time to see what this means, how fortunate I am, and what I’m getting to experience. I’m still going to be researching, writing, and pushing myself to publish this year, but I’m less anxious to make and tackle a big list.
Financially, this is crazy. Emotionally, this is wonderful.
But I promised the baby and myself that this year would be a year of courage. Publishing poetry has been an act of courage, but my children’s books are something harder. There’s so much doubt about their merit, purpose, audience, and the line. They are my darlings.
My friend Emily is, hopefully, illustrating one of them and I’ve discussed further illustrations with another friend, Dwight. What I like about Emily’s work is its playfulness. I think she’ll tap into the way the story is sad and magical. She won’t overdramatize one emotion over the other, but she will see how the two are the same. Dwight is influenced by other cultures and strong colors like red and black. That kind of fortitude against the sometimes soft, sometimes lingering lines seems magical.
I’ve thought about the birds in the first story a lot: I see them as ghosts. Like they almost aren’t on the page or they’re fading from page instead of lifting off or flying.
But with the boy, the main character, they’re more capable and present.