The First Day Of The Rest Of My Life

It was a LONG summer. It’s funny, every time we ran into fellow parents, they talked about how quickly these past three months seemed to fly by. I could not have agreed less. We had extenuating circumstances that kept the kids here at home just about all day, but I was busy with freelance work AND it was way too hot, so we didn’t do a whole lot. I was actually happy for school to start so they could be around other kids and run around more.

Last Wednesday, everything changed for me. That’s when both of my children got on the bus at the same time and didn’t come back until after 4:00 PM. I know I haven’t been keeping readers up to date on the goings-on here in Pop Poppa HQ, but both kids are now in all-day school thanks to The Boy’s entrance into Kindergarten and The Girl moving up to 3rd Grade.

She’s well accustomed to the routine by now and thankfully he’s taken to it well. He was excited going into the whole thing which was a giant relief. I can only imagine how hard it would have been if he unleashed his astounding rage powers on the very idea of school. I am still somewhat concerned with how he will hold up on these much longer days. His pre-school was less than 3 hours per day and now he’s away for a full work day. So far, though, so good. He’s digging it.

Meanwhile, I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I have a full work day to myself. It’s been 8 years since I’ve been able to do that! The Girl was born back then, a few years into my life as a freelance writer. We did alright, but everything revolved around her and I got done what I could when I could. It got more complicated when The Boy was born three years later. The fact that the otherwise-fantastic pre-school we sent them both to only lasted three hours didn’t help, but we all adored that program!

So, with previously unknown levels of freedom ahead of me, I thought about working up a schedule for my day. After getting the kids on the bus, I’m diving into work for a few hours, then doing chores or errands, eating lunch, getting back to work and then taking a few hours to focus on my own writing and other projects before they get off the bus and I start on dinner.

It might seem like an obvious series of events, but it’s the writing sections that I’m most concerned with. Stopping work to focus on anything but house stuff always feels weird. However, I also want to finally see if I have what it takes to to be a writer of a different kind. Looking back on my college days and those pre-child years, I want to slap Past TJ for not sitting down and writing. I have no idea if that stuff would have been any good, but I would have at least honed my skills and expunged a lot of bad ideas (though not all of them, I’m sure).

After the kids got on the bus that first day, my wife and I went out for breakfast at our favorite local place. She asked if I was excited about the upcoming freedom and I just stared off looking vaguely agitated (or more so than usual, I guess). I smiled and told her that I was nervous about actually producing on my writing. She asked if I couldn’t even be happy or excited for one day and I shook my head.

So, what’s wrong with me? I feel like this is finally my chance and I don’t want to blow it. My folks moved out here a few years ago to help with the children. We talked about how that would hopefully free me up to work on my own projects. That didn’t happen…much. I got some writing done here and there, but I often found myself either swamped with work or desperately trying to find more work (freelancing’s fun that way). With the kids in the mix, my writing — and especially blogging — fell to the wayside.

Now I have the time and I need to make something of it. So, I’m carving out an hour a day to focus solely on writing my own projects. It still feels wrong to stop doing something that’s actively making me money, but on the other hand, it feels great to have knocked out a chapter or two and maybe figured out the next part of the story! But, if I don’t do it now, will I later? I’d rather not figure that out and just give it a real shot now.

So, that’s where I am. As I write this, I’ve had five days of school. To be completely honest, I’ve only sat down to write once (though I still have time today). Things have come up, appointments needed to be made and we’ve already had one sick day! There will always be excuses, but I hope I can find a way to find a balance between my work, home and creative lives.













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