A Letter to My Blog

Dear Days, Life, Dreams,

I’ve ignored you for some time now. There has been a battle in my head over which direction to take with you, and that has led to my not giving you any attention at all. I’m sorry.

I love writing, I really do. You know that from the nearly 500 posts you contain, dating back to February 2008 when I wrote my very first post. At first, I wrote about my family, my kids, and our life in India. I enjoyed writing all that, even though I know it was only read by a select few, mainly family.

And that is what I’ve forgotten over the past 6 years – why I started this blog in the first place. My only goal was to let my family (and anyone else who was interested) know what was happening in our lives. It was a few years before I discovered other mommy blogs, memes, blogging groups, etc. At first I got sucked into thinking I had to do what everyone else was doing to get a large following, blah, blah, blah. It drove me crazy trying to keep up, especially before you had this one place to call home and your contents were spread over 3 different blogs.

I’ve come to realize that I miss the relationship we had in the beginning. I miss posting short things about my kids and the rascals they were, or just putting up a picture or two and not worrying if I didn’t have a topic to write about.  So, my dear Blog, I am coming  back to you as me, not as anyone else. I will again write like I used to, just enjoying the time we have together. I will visit you when I feel like it, not according to some timetable. I don’t ever want to get so overwhelmed with “blogging” that I forget you are also my friend.

You listen to what ever I have to say. You don’t complain. You don’t judge. You are just there for me.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart,

Me

Rethinking My Writing Commitment – Doing it Right

I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since my last post. So much for my commitment to write regularly. I’ve just not been in the mood, nor did I have any ideas about what to write.

I read a lot of other blogs, mostly mommy blogs. Each one is kept up in a way that is particular to the person writing it. And that’s a good thing. What’s bad is that I’ve felt the need to be like those who post several times a week, who never miss a post, who can keep up with all the various memes and link up’s that are out there.

I tried doing that back some time ago when I had 3 separate blogs, before they all got mixed together here on this one.  My childcare/parenting one was a source of continual stress for me, which is why I eventually discontinued it. (You can find the posts from that blog on my page Mommy to Mommy and on the tabs under that page.)

But why do I feel this need to follow the crowd? My blog is my own and should be kept up for my own reasons, not anyone else’s. I think I just need to get back to the original reason why I began this blog: keeping my family up-to-date on the kids and our lives. If I write anything, it should be what I want to write, not what I think the mommy blogger community as a whole would like.

Life has kept me busy lately and that is, I think, more important than trying to come up with the perfect blog post. I’m doing better in some of my other commitments. I got more exercise this month. We are trying out new meal ideas. The house is cleaner because we finally hired a maid. The kids are learning. They love school time so much that they want it every day.

By the time I have time to sit and blog, I’m tired. I’ve tried writing tired before. It doesn’t come out that great. So this reminder is more for myself – just write what you want and leave the rest unwritten. Don’t try to keep up with anyone. Stay true to your own commitments.

Time to Recommit

I’ve been in such a writing funk lately. This seems to happen to me every so often – I just don’t feel like writing so I don’t. And then stories and ideas pile up, and before I know it, I’ve got backlogs of stuff that I wanted to share and never did, and then I don’t because more time keeps passing and the stories become dated.

I’ve got to stop doing this! Deep down, I really want to write, but I allow my busyness to get in the way and stop me. Just like I’ve committed to exercise and eating gluten-free (more on that another time), I need to commit to writing on this blog.

So this is my commitment. At least 2 posts a week, unless there is good reason not to.

I haven’t told many people about this, but I want to become a freelance writer. What’s been holding me back? Lots of things. For example, what do I want to write about? Who do I want to send pieces to? Where do I even begin? I’ve been reading up on it from some specific writers blogs, and I have learned a lot. I just need to get over whatever is really holding me back, and get started.

I figure keeping up with my blog is the first step. Then maybe I should try guest posting on some blogs that I read regularly who accept guest posts, just to get in the practice. I’ve just got to do it! Who knows where it could go from there? Obviously I’ll never get paid to write if I don’t ever write.

Now to get started…

Making Plans

This story picks up where this one leaves off.

Alec had finished his shift and gone straight home, even though his buddies had tried hard to get him to go with them for a few drinks. Since his daughter had been born, he always rushed home from the station, sometimes not even bothering to change out of his uniform first. “Only a few weeks old and already she has you doing her bidding, huh?” his partner had teased him. Smiling to himself, Alec got out of the car and ran up to the door.

Entering the house he called “Honey, I’m home!” There was no reply as he sauntered over to the bedroom where he could hear the baby crying. “Hi, Honey! Oh hey, my love,” he cooed. “Where’s mommy?”

He gently picked up the whimpering bundle and cradled her in his arms while he walked around the house looking for his wife.

“Honey? Where are you?”

The house was small so it wasn’t long before he found her outside on the back porch.

“Oh, there you are.” He noticed she was wiping tears away. “Everything ok?”

Suhaila looked up and smiled. “Yes, I’m fine … now. I … I’ve just been remembering my mom. I miss her.”

Alec stepped closer and held her hand as Suhaila began to cry again.

“Somehow, ever since Leslie was born, mom has been in my thoughts non-stop…. I can’t push the memories of her away any more…. I have to find her! I need to hug her and tell her how sorry I am! … Will you help me find her, Alec?”

Since they had been together, Suhaila had always made it clear that she had no intention of contacting her parents. She wanted nothing to do with them and had resisted Alec’s offer to track them down before their wedding. Now she was begging for his help. Motherhood had affected her emotions for sure, but he hadn’t expected this.

“Of course I will! I’ll have someone in my department look into it first thing tomorrow.”

Suhaila got up out of the rocker and hugged him as tears continued to make their way down her cheeks. Alec rubbed her back and held her close. She meant everything to him! He would search for her parents if it took the rest of his life, though he was sure it wouldn’t take that long.

The sun was setting now but the moon could already be seen over the horizon. Alec and Suhaila sat on the wooden porch steps while Leslie snuggled in her daddy’s left arm. They leaned against each other, her head on his strong shoulder, his right hand holding her left one. As they watched the moon rise, Alec began to sing,

“‘I would fly to the moon in a rubber balloon, anything for my baby.'”

Suhaila laughed as she always did when he sang that song, then gave him an extra-tight squeeze and kissed his cheek.

“I love you too,” she said.

This fiction piece was written using the following prompt from Write on Edge: …you have 500 words to write a piece, fiction or non-fiction, which includes the phrase “to the moon.”

Lipstick Thief

source

I was 7 years old and I stole my mom’s red lipstick.

Well, I don’t think I saw it as stealing. She always let me wear her nail polish so I didn’t think she’d mind if I used some lipstick. I took the tube to my room, sat on my bed and opened it. I twisted it all the way up and put some on, rubbing my lips just as I had seen mom do.

Then came the oops moment: I forgot to twist it down before I put the lid back on. When I opened it again, the whole thing was smashed and I was scared. I remember the nervous feeling that rose inside as wondered what to do with it. I was so sure mom would spank me that I threw it under my bed and hoped she would never find it.

I never heard anything about it from her, so my guess is that she probably thought she lost it – at least until we moved from that apartment. I remember my room being packed up and seeing the tube there when the bed was moved, the scared-I-was-in-trouble feeling rising in my chest again. But mom never said anything about it. That was unexpected since at that point it was obviously my fault it was ruined. Maybe she had forgotten she had it. Maybe she was so busy with the move and packing and keeping 4 little rascals (I was the eldest) out of trouble that a ruined tube of lipstick was the last thing on her mind.

For my part, I was just happy to not get caught.

The above story was written for Mama Kat’s writers workshop. The prompt was to write about a time you stole something.

My Morning View

Every morning the same view greets me. I wake to see beige walls that have needed painting ever since my kids decided to use them as a canvas for crayon art. A high shelf, full of books that I struggle to find time to read, stares down at me. The large orange and tan crib is stained with dirt that won’t come off no matter how many times I try to wash it. It has been chewed by all three of my babies, touched by three pairs of tiny hands, each for a longer time than the last.

The air conditioner hums as it has all night; the fan is spinning as well. The brown wooden cupboard in the corner is neatly packed with clothes. Three sets of windows ensure the room is never completely dark. Two sets are at the top of opposite walls near the ceiling – one facing the outdoors, the other our living room. Why a window was placed there I’ll never know. The other window is at a normal level and is where the air conditioner is connected.

I also wake up to three more bodies in my bed; tiny bodies that weren’t there when I went to sleep. Each has found their way to a small nook and is sleeping in a favorite position. While I may feel rather squished, it is also comforting – all my kids are in bed with me and I know they are safe.

Today I am writing memoir for Write on Edge‘s weekly meme Red Writing Hood.

Thoughts in a Cell

You can read more about Robert here.
The echo of the heavy door slamming shut reverberated in the small cell. Robert shook as he trudged to the bench and sat, fear of what awaited him in jail rising in his heart. He should have known that sooner or later he might get caught! He leaned against the brick wall and tried to recall how he had gotten into this mess in the first place.
“Man, listen. All you have to do is drop this package at this address. That’s it. No strings attached. Once it’s dropped I’ll pay you. Simple.” Jake tried hard to convince Robert.
“I dunno, man.”
“Look, I’ll pay you up front, just because you’re my friend, ok?” Robert watched as Jake took out a wad of hundreds and began counting them off. He did need the money. Student loans were weighing heavily on him and he was currently between jobs. Yet something was making him hesitate.
Jake handed him the money and the package. “Don’t tell anyone that I paid you up front.” He lowered his voice. “I’m not supposed to do that.”
Hesitantly Robert took them. It was too late to back out now. “Ok, Jake. I’ll do it this once.”
“Thanks, man. I owe you one.”
Though he hadn’t planned on continuing, Robert found himself doing more jobs for Jake. Each involved delivering the same size package to different places and he was always paid well – too well, he thought.  He always told himself it would be the last, but whenever Jake asked, Robert relented.
“Look where it got me,” he thought. “I should have listened when my inner voice told me not to take this one.” The last drop had been at a shady-looking building that was covered in graffiti and falling apart. Even as he drove up to it, the urge to turn the car around had never been stronger. It took several deep breaths and all his courage to go in – and he had been caught! The undercover agent who had been waiting for the drop arrested him immediately.
Suddenly the cell door opened. “You’re free to go,” his arresting officer said.
“What? Why?”
“Your bail has been paid.”
Still shaking but grateful to be out, Robert determined he would never again do anything that would make him see the inside of a prison cell. Ever!
 
This fiction piece was written for Write on Edge‘s meme Red Writing Hood.

A Mother Remembered

You can meet Suhaila and her parents in this post.

It was a warm spring day. Outside the birds were singing. A gentle breeze wove its way through the trees in the garden. It was her first Mother’s Day. As she lay in bed cuddling her small daughter, thoughts of another mother entered her mind.
The first memory is of sitting on her mother’s lap, reading story after story. She can still see the bedroom they sat in; it had been her room. Though small, it was beautifully decorated. The child-size bed in the corner wore a quilt of down, made in white with tiny pink flowers on it. The dresser had been painted pink, a rough job done by someone who didn’t quite know how to paint; drips were still visible along the edges. On top of the dresser was an antique lamp that had been rescued from yard sale leftovers that were being thrown out. The tiny window was trimmed with handmade curtains, obviously stitched by hand. In one corner was a cozy chair artistically draped with an old handmade quilt in order to hide the torn and faded upholstery. That was the chair they sat in every evening. She remembers the smell of her mother’s hair, how its waves fell around her face, how beautiful her smile always was.
The memory faded and another took its place. She was older, about 5. She remembers the handmade doll her mother had given her for her birthday. She had loved that doll so much! She would carry it around in her arms, feed it, and pat it to sleep.
Tears began to flow from Suhaila’s eyes. She tried hard to push the memories away. For years she had been able to block them out, but now that she was a mother herself, the memories had resurfaced and she couldn’t stop them. She cried quietly so as not to wake the baby lying next to her and allowed the next memory to come.
She couldn’t remember exactly how old she had been in this one – maybe 7 or 8. The incident that caused her to be upset was long forgotten but she was sure it had something to do with kids teasing her at school. All she remembers is going home in tears and her mother holding her, listening to her story, comforting her with soft words and her favorite cookies.
The baby began to stir and Suhaila lightly rubbed her back until she settled down again. Why were the memories of her childhood affecting her so much? Why had they come back so strongly, beginning during her pregnancy and now continuing more than ever since the birth of Leslie Rose? Why couldn’t she ignore them as she had before?
Getting up from the bed, Suhaila left the bedroom and went outside onto the small porch at the back of the house. She sat in a refurbished antique rocking chair and allowed herself to relive yet another memory.
This one, though, wasn’t so nice. Her mother was in it too – the only bad memory she had of her. She was 17 and had fallen in with some friends who were leading her down a dangerous path – one of lying and stealing. Her mother had found out about her shoplifting an expensive necklace and had made her return it and apologize to the owner of the shop. The embarrassment she had felt at being made to do so upset her so much that she and her mother had the biggest fight they had ever had, ending with her mother saying she wished Suhaila wasn’t her daughter.
They were words spoken in anger, words that had burned inside her and cemented her decision – she would run away and make sure she was never found. That evening Suhaila had packed a bag and left before her parents even went to bed.
By now Suhaila was weeping bitterly. She knew in her heart that her mother had spoken the words out of frustration and disappointment, but she hadn’t meant them. She knew her mother had been waiting for her to calm down, and then she would have apologized as she always did. She had wanted to make her mother suffer, but now she was the one suffering.
“Mom, I’m so sorry for the pain I now know you must still be enduring. I wish I could take it all back!” At that moment Suhaila made another life-altering decision – she would do whatever it took to track down her parents. She just had to see her mother again!

This fiction piece was written for the following promt from Story Dam:

Dam Burst Prompt:
Fiction or Non – Fiction, Tell us the best or worst mother story whether your own, someone else’s, or completely made up. …

Moonglow



source

 The elderly couple stood silently on the beach, his arms wrapped around his wife as they both faced the rolling waves, allowing the breeze to refresh them after a hot day. Above them the setting sun gave way to a glorious moonrise, casting a soft glow on the landscape as the full moon reached its zenith.

Each was lost in their own thoughts – memories of times long past that held special meaning to them.

                                                            ***

“What do you think of Suhaila?” Ellen gently stroked her newborn’s hair, never taking her eyes off the baby. She smiled the smile of a mother who was already in love with her firstborn. She cuddled her daughter close and inhaled deeply – ahh, the scent of a newborn. The bond between mother and child was growing stronger by the second.

“I don’t know. Is that really a name?”

“Of course it is,” she chuckled. “It is an Indian girl’s name and it means “moonglow”. My college roommate was named Suhaila.”

“Oh, ok … I guess I kind of like it.” Jim shook his head from side to side, as if trying to make a decision – did he really like the name?

“What made you think of that name?” Jim asked.

“Oh … just the memory of our first night together at that beach, remember? Under the moonlight?”

“That evening is one of my favorite memories. Ok, I like the name much better now. Suhaila you are, my love,” said Jim as he took the baby from his wife’s arms and cuddled her close.

                                                         ***

Jim chased the volleyball as it went out of bounds. Jogging to the spot where it sat, he almost tripped over the ball as he locked eyes with the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. His buddies were shouting for him to “just bring the ball already”, but as he picked it up and returned to the game, he couldn’t help but glance back. She was still there, making it plainly obvious that she was interested in him.

Back in the game, Jim tried to play, but she had walked over to the court, never taking her eyes off him, and stood right in his line of sight. The ball came his way but instead of hitting it, it smacked him in the head, causing groans and curses from his teammates. He couldn’t ignore her any longer. Jim left the game and walked to where she stood.

“Hi, I’m, uh, Jim,” he said, mentaly kicking himself for not being bolder.

“Hi Jim, I’m Ellen.” She smiled coyly and his knees went soft. “Are you coming to the beach party tonight?”

“I, um … yeah, I guess so,” he stammered.

“See you there then,” she winked. He knew in that moment he had found the woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. Hopefully he wouldn’t be nervous and not know what to say to her.

                                                        ***

Jim hugged his wife tighter and sighed.

“What are you thinking about?” Ellen inquired.

“Oh, I was remembering the day we met – the best day of my life!” he replied as he kissed her cheek.

Ellen smiled. How could she forget the day she met the blundering fool who became her life partner and best friend? That very evening he had worked up the courage to ask her to marry him and she had said yes, though they only actually went through with it three years later.

“What about you?” asked Jim.

“I was just remembering the day Suhaila was born and how happy we were. Seeing the moon always reminds me of her.”

Silence ensued. The crashing waves only increased the sadness both felt rising, as tears welled in Ellen’s eyes.

“Will we ever see her again?”

This fiction piece was written for the following promt from Story Dam:

Dam Burst Prompt:
Fiction or Non-Fiction, show us what is waiting for the full moon. Extra points for mixing mystery with romance.

Mommy Magic

Four year old Mandy stood quietly, watching the automatic doors slide open and closed. Open and close, open and close – so rhythmic, so magical. “I wonder how they do that?” she thought.

She watched as a lady with an empty cart walked through them. “Where did she go?” Mandy wondered after the doors closed. Suddenly they didn’t seem so magical; they were downright scary!

Her mother walked up with the cart. “Come, Mandy.” She gripped her mother’s hand tightly as they strolled towards the doors. As they got closer, she pulled back and stopped.

“What’s wrong, sweetie? Come, we don’t have a lot of time.”

“We can’t go in there, Mommy.”

“Why not?”

“It’s scary. I don’t like it.”

“Mandy, we come here every week. You have been through those doors since before you could walk. Why are they scary now?”

“That lady went in and when the doors closed, she disappeared. They ate her up!” Mandy looked at her mother. “I don’t want to be eaten too.”

“I understand,” said Mother, “they do look a bit scary.” She knew her daughter had a wild and very active imagination. “How about if we play a game while we shop? Would that help?”

“Which game, Mommy?”

“Well, let’s pretend that the shop is really a magic garden and you can be the princess.”

Mandy loved princesses so it wasn’t hard to convince her to play the game. She held her mother’s hand tightly and closed her eyes while they walked through the doors. Once inside, Mandy looked around. This wasn’t the grocery store – where was she?

The walls were stone, as were the floors. The ceiling was so high she could hardly see it. On one side of the dark room, some lights twinkled. Mandy walked closer and watched as the lights grew until, to her delight, a beautiful girl appeared in front of her.

“Who are you?” Mandy inquired.

“I’m Sparkle, a fairy.”

“You’re a fairy? I though fairies were tiny.”

“We can change size when we want to. I chose to be your size so we can play together easier. Come, let’s go play outside.”

Sparkle held Mandy’s hand and together they ran to the doors, which opened on their own. Outside was a huge garden with the greenest grass and the prettiest flowers Mandy had ever seen. They passed the time picking flowers, rolling in the grass, chasing butterflies and dancing. Mandy also discovered that anything she touched would sparkle and light up.

After a while, Sparkle said it was time for Mandy to go home.

“Will I see you again?”

“Of course you will,” smiled Sparkle. “Every time you visit the grocery store.” They walked towards the huge doors, then Sparkle waved and disappeared. Mandy closed her eyes as she walked through the doors that opened on their own. When she opened them, she was outside the shop again, walking with her mommy.

“Did you have fun?” asked Mother.

“Lots! I can’t wait to come shopping again so I can visit with Sparkle.”

Mother smiled to herself and took a deep breath. This had been the easiest shopping trip ever, thanks to Sparkle.

This fiction piece was written in response to the prompt below from Story Dam.

Dam Burst Prompt:
Write fiction or non-fiction, tell us what lies on the other side of the door. Will you take door number two or door number one? What magical wonders are just waiting for you to step through?

P.S. While writing this I was thinking of recently when my 4 year old son freaked out when I tried to get him on an elevator. He was terrified and sadly, nothing could convince him that is was safe to go on, so we had to walk down four flights of stairs at the mall. Did I mention that I had my two girls with me? Not fun.

P.P.S. The doors I had in mind were not elevator doors but those large automatic doors most grocery stores have.

%d bloggers like this: