Do I stop being a mother because I sit down to write? No. Do I cease being a writer because I parent even when she’s sleeping? No. How do I, a boomer of the Pause-then-Play generation manage mindfulness and parenting simultaneously? These are but a few of the criticisms that compete in my waking mind each day. As devotees of Morning Pages, my students and I know the benefits one receives from such daily practices of surrender. What follows is an unedited excerpt (294 of 601 words) from today’s freewriting session.
One thing I did mean to write down was the fact that I am being the kind of student I abhor – one who expects to glean the benefit of the subject through the instructor’s effort alone. It’s unintentional or rather a byproduct of the all-consuming vacuum that is parenting but I don’t devote the time in silence to reflect and arrive at a real haiku or mindful moment to warrant any progress or development of my inner world at all. Somehow, I want to shriek and call Audrey (imagining she is the only one who will understand) but I left my phone in the kitchen. Perhaps I will go to Canvas and begin grading. I said I wanted an hour and have eaten six minutes thereof to produce these fewer than 500 words. She has weaseled her way between the couch and the glass topped lamp side table and is reaching for the ceramic dish holding the photos. She grunts for me to help her. I shake my head, “no”, and attempt a grimace in the direction of a smile. Not calling attention to it or placing higher value on her interests over mine seems to release her from her quest – one that ended unsatisfactorily for both of us last night – and she comes from out of the silk plant and lampstand to return attention to the cellphone that never left her hand. She stands beside me working on a diaper package now. Should I have given her miralax in apple juice in lieu of milk upon waking? How is one to use parenting as the practice of mindfulness while teaching while black? Such an embarrassment of riches! That, my dear Watson, is how one arrives at a true question. Amen.
While it is true each generation leaves a legacy fraught with compromise, boomers continue to harvest lessons from inheriting the cassette recorder. I may not be as adept at multitasking as a Millennial but learning how to press play-and-record continues to inform my glass half-full, abundance mentality even when pitted against a toddler. This knowledge serves well as the pause that refreshes.