I love being a mother. I love my children and the many things they teach me every day. They keep life interesting and certainly keep me from being lonely. I remember the day each of them was born. After I held my oldest daughter in my arms, I thought, "I did it." When my son was born, I knew a little better what the future would hold. And after the birth of my youngest daughter, the thoughts were more like, "Hang on for the ride."
After three kids, the truth is clear. Giving birth is the easy part of the process. Now I hold these lives in my hands. My responsibility to teach and prepare them to go out into the world at the appropriate time weighs heavily on my shoulders. Can I teach them all they need to know? Will they remember their manners and how to treat others? Will they be able to hold jobs and find spouses? How will they do when it comes to raising their own families?
Writing a story is a similar process for me. When I write and get into the right frame of mind, the words flow and before I know it the story is on paper. That's the easy part. Then the hard part begins. All the editing and revising takes time. Much more time than I actually put into writing the story in the first place. It is like having children. The time spent expecting the baby and actually giving birth are insignificant compared to the amount of time spent raising the same child and preparing him to go out into the world.
Today, I entered a short story into a contest, and I am getting my first novel ready to submit. I don't send things off nearly as often as I should. There is always something else to check, phrases to re-word, spelling errors to look for and all the other things a good edit requires. Just like my kids, though, I have to let go sometime. I have to send the story out into the world and hope that someone will value the thing I created as much as I do. Of course, before I let it go, my stomach churns and I feel a moment of doubt. But in the end, the stories I tell aren't for me, and they are wasted if I keep them forever.
My oldest child is almost fifteen and the time is coming that I will have to send her out into the big, bad world. Like my story, there is only so much I can do before she leaves. My children aren't here just to be my children. They have things to accomplish and places to see. With both my writing and my children, I can only hope I have prepared them enough to stand on their own achieve great things after they leave my weary hands.