as far back as I can remember…
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
“Well, yes, you can do that, of course, but what else do you want to be when you grow up?”
Eventually, I realised that the semi-interested adults who asked this question didn’t see being a mother as a valid occupation in its own right. They wanted me to tell them that I wanted to be a lawyer or an airline stewardess a flight attendant, a lumberjack or a foreign service diplomat.
And so, on request, I learned to rotate those (and other) occupations through my reply.
They would smile, pat me on the arm, and say, “there’s a good girl,” or something equally patronising.
When I said that I wanted to write children’s books, I was told, “Surely that’s something you can do in your spare time? You won’t make any money at that.”
Hmmmm. Apparently, children’s book writer also was not on the list of valid occupations.
I did become a mother, and I love, love, love my job. And now, I am finally working on that children’s book. It may be a stretch to call a YA novel a children’s book, especially given that when I first imagined it, I thought I meant a 32-page picture book. However, as I have grown and changed, so have my dreams and imaginings.
I receive a weekly email titled Pause for Beauty, from Rod MacIver at Heron Dance. Rod is an artist committed to maintaining a connection to the wild, beautiful places – in nature and in our souls.
A recent Pause contained the following quote:
What do you love about life? Serve that.
What fills you with joy? Serve that.
As I answer these questions, it becomes clear to me that being a mother and being a writer for young people are my way of serving what I love about life, serving what fills me with joy.
This joy is my motivation to keep writing, to keep following the story, to write it the best way I can.
Children and stories? These exist in the wild, beautiful places. They need to stay a little bit wild – I hope I always remember that.
And you can be darn sure that if some little kid tells me she wants to be a mother or a writer (or anything else she can come up with), I’m going to say, “Good for you – the world needs people who love what they do.”
If you would like to receive Pause for Beauty each week, click here to learn more.