On Sunday, my daffodils bloomed. I also emerged from under a sea of papers, readings and writing, as I turned in the very last requirements of my masters degree. There was a certain hesitation and satisfaction in clicking submit. When it was done, I wanted to feel something more intense than the relief that my deadlines were removed. This is very likely the last formal schooling of my life, which seems significant somehow, but the emotions haven’t followed.
In the week since, I have wandered around my house, feeling a bit lost for things to do without the focus that school has given me over the last two years. I have found a local writer’s group to keep the momentum going — the most valuable thing that academia gave me was a community of peers to throw my writing at. Now that I have been kicked out of the doors of academia, I have no excuses left to hold me back from trying to turn my writing into something more serious. On the contrary – I now have to justify all the money I spent taking an extra two years of writing and literature courses. I’ve pulled out my portfolio and have been preparing a story or two for workshopping at the next meeting. It’s time to get serious.
With an eleven week old daughter, who grows bigger and talks and smiles more every day, I still feel like motherhood is a suit that I’ve put on rather than something intrinsic to who I am. I love my early mornings with the kiddo, who smiles at me like I’m the best thing that has ever happened when I wake her up. I kiss her neck and listen to her coos and wonder that she belongs to us. It seems unreal, as though any day someone will take this responsibility away. Each morning is still a surprise, even as my hands and hips pick up the routine of diapering and lifting and soothing. When my arms are free, they feel empty. It’s just a matter of time until she’s so deep in my consciousness that she’ll come out in every story. I find myself wanting to write for her, to tell her the stories I dreamed about when I was a child.
Last weekend, I brought the kiddo out in the garden in her car seat, as I dug my hands into the dirt and planted. This year, my gardening is building on the hard work of the previous few years. I planted all bee-friendly plants, hoping that the lone carpenter bee that joined us would bring along his friends as my garden grows. Pulling and tugging at the wisteria, I trained its long tendrils around the fence and away from the roses. I put down lavender and bee balm, lady’s mantle, a hydrangea bush. I introduced the kiddo to the Asian pear trees and the roses and had her touch the soft leaves of the butterfly bush with her impossibly small fingers. At the end of the day, I washed the dirt off of my new gardening gloves with the satisfaction that I was looking for all along.