I’ve been home from ALA for two days now – sleeping over ten hours each day, my body slowly trying to catch up. In that time I’ve had a chance to reflect on the amazing weekend, the people I had the chance to see, and the conversations I had.
As I mentioned in my ALA Slice of Life, Saturday night many of us were lucky enough to head to Elizabeth Fama’s house for the evening. Beth provided some delicious food, space to hang out, and a relaxed atmosphere. There was so much about that night that was special; I sometimes felt like I was staring at the party from the outside looking in, thinking am I really here?
As I walked around Beth’s house, I was struck by the amazing artwork that was present everywhere you look. When I asked her about it, I learned that she has four children, each of which is creative in their own way. They paint, draw, create graphic novels, are amazing cooks, and more. I did meet some of her kids, and they were incredibly kind. They ranged in age from their teens to their twenties. And towards the end of the night, when I complimented Beth on her wonderful kids, she said, “I gave birth to my best friends.”
Wow. What a statement. I think before becoming a parent, I wouldn’t have realized the full impact of that. It is one thing to love your children – I hope all parents do. But to like them? To want to spend time with them? To call them your best friends? I think that is awesome.
Whether she knows it or not, Beth Fama has just become my role model. J I love the creativity she shares with her children, how she values their choice, and the pride in her voice when she talks about them. And that statement? That has already been written down in my writing notebook. I think half of becoming a writer is knowing when to pay attention to what is being said around you. And these words, wise ones for certain.
This summer I have spent more time away from home than ever in my life, and it has been hard on me. I didn’t realize how much I wanted to be a mom until I became one. For the first four years of being a parent, I was away from Luke – then Liam – for less than ten days. When I was gone, I felt their absence keenly. It wasn’t that I worried about them, but just wanted to be with them.
I am not a mom that dotes on her child’s every whim; I actually don’t do a great job “playing.” I like being there, providing what they need, letting them develop the ability to entertain themselves. I love lying in my room with Luke, discussing the plot of an ARC I brought home for him to read. I love sitting with Liam and writing, side by side, in our writing notebooks. Discussing the use of “and” to start a sentence. (I told him you aren’t “supposed” to, yet I do it often. We call that a craft choice.) I love conversations in the car, cooking in the kitchen, and typing on my laptop as I listen to them play. Today, I watched them run in front of me as we trekked along our route, time flashed. I hope in ten years I can say that we are still this close. I hope they will consider me their friend. I hope we run this route together, that one day I can keep up.
Thanks for the inspiration, Beth. Who knew I would leave ALA with so much more than I dreamed.