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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Journal Entries

I've always wanted to be a writer. The problem is that while I've always excelled at writing more academic compositions, I just don't have the creativity to write for pleasure. In fact, I truly believe that creative writing is more difficult than writing a comprehensive research paper. At any rate, writing is a profession I've always romanticized. I picture myself sitting with a notebook in front of me, each page the perfect thickness between my fingers as I flip through the binding, holding a pen whose ink does not run out and emerges steadily as words flow effortlessly from my head to my hand. This is not a believable vision and I realize that. Nonetheless, after my son, Benjamin, was born nearly 11 months ago, I began to feel those prickly nudges to write down some of the intense thoughts and emotions I was feeling as I watched my child grow and thrive from a helpless, smushy newborn into a confident, curious almost-toddler. In an effort to get these thoughts down on paper before they were pushed to the very back of my brain (which now devotes the majority of its energies to remembering when Ben last ate or pooped and trying to recall on the way to work if my husband or I remembered take the chicken breast out of the freezer to thaw before dinner), I resolved to keep a journal. No pressure to record exhaustive entries, just a place to jot down my own personal notes. Who was I kidding? Below is an entry from my journal that I wrote on October 8, 2009:

3:00 pm

I thought when I committed to writing in this journal more often (at least once every other day),

9:00 pm

Right. I started that entry around 3:00 pm, thinking I had about an hour of freedom left during Ben's afternoon nap. I spent the first hour sweeping and mopping the kitchen floor (something that wasn't necessary to do 3 times a day before Ben started eating regular table food and realized the cat likes to bat discarded Goldfish crackers around the kitchen floor), picking up toys around the house, and dusting and vacuuming the family room. No sooner had my butt hit the couch and my hand picked up my journal and pen did I hear that waking-up whimper strain through the monitor. I sat quietly, as if stilling myself completely would somehow prevent Ben from waking up two floors above me. The waking-up whimper quickly progressed into the initial wail that will, in the span of 5-10 seconds, evolve into the, "Mom, come get me right now!" yell. Dammit. Sighing, I put down my pen, clamp my journal shut, and hustle up the steps to retrieve my boy.

As soon as I open his door, the smell of a fresh diaper hits me. Whoa! Poor kid. Ben has an unfortunate habit of waking himself up from naps in this fashion. Once he, well, goes, there's no return to sleep. I scoop my flailing boy out of his crib and change his diaper. By the time we reach the blowing-raspberries-on-Benny's-belly portion of our diaper-changing routine, my boy is all smiles. I scoop him once more and together we settle into the rocking chair. Ben nuzzles into me as I nurse him. By the time we reach the Ben-reaches-up-to-touch-Mom's-nose-until-she-makes-the-"honk, honk"- sound portion of our post-nap nursing routine, I've completely forgotten about my unfinished (well, barely started) journal entry.

Maybe I'll work harder at being a writer tomorrow.

This post was written by Amanda Link, mom to Benjamin Daniel, born November 20, 2008

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