Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Art of Standing Still

Two months ago I was a fully signed up, tax paying, meeting going, decision making professional. I tumbled through each day and collapsed each night with a long list of accomplishments that were another step on the path to some mysterious destination. Then, three weeks ago, the little guy above entered our lives.

Our house looks like something vomited laundry through it, hours disappear in a cycle of feeding and burping, I haven't opened a manuscript in a month, and I, whose job description used to include professional trouble shooter and problem solver, flail helplessly in the face of a little man crying unconsolably like he's lost his best friend and nothing I do fixes it.

I, who used to find pleasure in the number of things that I knocked off my to do list each day and how much closer I was getting to whatever my next self imposed destination was, am having to learn the art of standing still, that most days the list of things that I didn't get done is going to be longer than what I did. That sometimes, the fact that both of us made it out of our pyjamas can be considered a victory.

As writers we are often the same. At the beginning we just want to be finished with the first manuscript. Then we just want the manuscript to be polished and ready for submission. Then we just want to have heard back from that agent/editor that we've queried. Then we're waiting for that first book to be published. Sometimes we get so focussed on the next step in the process that we forget to enjoy where we are now.

So today, the spare 45 minutes that I had that should have been spent doing laundry, or unloading the dishwasher, or vacuuming, or reacquainting myself with my long neglected characters, were spent watching the most gorgeous baby in the world sleep and marveling that I get to be part of such perfection.


  1. Precious, Kara - and what a gorgeous little guy you have there! Take all the time you can to watch him before he gets mobile! Your comment re writing is also so true. We're always running ahead.

  2. Hi Kara,
    He is gorgeous! It's great to see you have your priorities straight at the moment :) I know from experience that they change so fast. The young fellow I still call my 'baby' is now 7. Trying to rush things forward applies so well to both babies and writing.

  3. No words on paper will ever be as valuable as the time you spend holding, rocking, nurturing, and loving that precious gift from God. Nor will those words ever yield the same kind of reward.

    My four babies are all grown, my grandchildren range in age from eight to thirty, and I have a great-granddaughter. My first published work saw light in February this year. More are planned. There will be time for the writing when Little Guy no longer needs your constant attention.

    For now, revel in motherhood. Savor it. It is a magnificent state of life - a partnership in creation that the Lord gives us.

    PS: In case you hadn't noticed, he is an exceptionally beautiful baby. And I must warn you, with those alert eyes, he will be a handful as well as a heart full.

  4. Aw, thanks for sharing this sweet photo of him, Kara. They are so squishably snuggly at that age.

  5. Writing has been in a holding pattern in my life for the past 20 years. Sometimes offing me more time, sometimes less for writing. But I thoroughly enjoyed raising my three boys. My baby is almost 17 now and the last one at home. I cherish Judith's words, knowing time for publication is still ahead. Something to look forward to.
    He is precious, Kara. Thanks for sharing him with us.

  6. Hi Kara,
    When my children were small I wish I had of done more of what you are describing. Just taking time to enjoy them and especially not worrying about an unkempt house. Because raising kids is the hardest, most joyful, most important task that parents ever do. The children will grow up and fly the nest but trust me the housework will always be with us.
    Thanks Jennifer Ann

  7. He sure is a gorgeous little bundle, Kara. Need a baby-sitter? I'll be over the pond in a flash!

    Oh, and I emphathized with you finding your house vomiting laundry all over the place. It kind of makes you feel helpless, but don't let it get you down. Keep one room tidy and close all other doors.

  8. Congratulations on such a beautiful baby, Kara. Today my house is atrocious and I don't even have your very good excuse! We should never forget that when our children are older they won't remember the "house" but the times we spent loving them! Mmm that may mean some housework too I'spose as long as our priorities are kept in order.

  9. Congratulations, Kara! And as my lovely spiritual friend/mentor would say 'Be kind to yourself!' Anyway, nobody expects your house to be in any sort of order with a three week old baby. God bless you and Josh and your little one.

  10. Congratulations Kara! He is gorgeous and your world will revolve around his needs for quite some time :) I took a break from writing when my children were small and I don't regret that decision. As Jo-Anne said, be kind to yourself and enjoy those precious moments you have with your beautiful little boy.

  11. Kara, he's wonderful! congratulations. Enjoy every minute. My mother used to say, "Dust settle down, cobwebs go to sleep, I'm rocking my baby, and babies don't keep."

  12. Thanks everyone - right now he's celebrating four weeks in the world fast asleep on his Daddy's chest :) And Judith you're definitely right about him being a handful - I'd been told by my mother that I was born with a streak of stubborness and now I know exactly what she means!