“Mom, I missed you.” says a sleepy Patch as I hug him in his bed. I’ve been gone for most of the day, wearing nice clothes, having grown-up conversations, smiling at new people.
“I missed you too.” I murmur as I wrap my arms all the away around him. He is small enough that I can touch my arms on either side while holding him. Some inward part of me uncoils and relaxes.
“Will you snuggle with me in my bed?” he asks.
I tell him I will. So I go to my room and shed the nice clothes. I put on my fuzzy socks that make my feet look like muppets. I am dressed to unwind, to relax, to snuggle. And I grab my laptop, because that too is part of unwinding.
Today I attended the Association for Mormon Letters annual meeting. I was given an award for this blog “Best Online Writing.” It was very nervous to me to walk into a new community knowing that I was going to be singled out for an award. I did not know what kind of a reception I would receive there. Small communities are sometimes resistant to interlopers. This one was not. Everyone I spoke to was kind and welcoming. People treated me and my writing with respect. My friend Kathy even presented a paper which talked about the intersection between blogging and the personal essay in which she used this blog as an example. So I spent all day meeting intelligent people and having discussions which analyzed or explained. It was fascinating to listen and participate. The thought “oh, so is that what I’m doing? I never saw it that way before.” crossed my mind more than once.
The AML community is very focused on the production of good literature. But the creation of literature was never my stated goal here. I am just explaining me to myself out loud. I am catching the moments of my life so they will not escape me. I am trying to wrap words around my meanings. At the meeting I found my little word-wrapped meanings being held up, and examined, and found valuable. It was deeply moving and also a little unsettling. But there was an excitement to reading from my blog out loud to a crowd of attentive listeners. They reacted to my words in the moments that I spoke them. And I realized in a way I hadn’t before how my words can affect others.
All of this swims in my head. It is going to take a while to sort it all through. For now I am glad to be snuggled here with my son’s head resting on my chest as I type.
“Mom, I can hear your heartbeat.” he says and turns his face up to smile at me.
I smile back. He does not care if what I write is important or not. He does not care that I won an award or that I treasure the recognition. He just cares that I am here to snuggle him and listen when he tells me about his day.
It is good to get out and see my world in new ways. It is good to come home and remember why I do the things I do.