This is a month of paradox. Our four children are winding down the summer and gearing up for school. Me, too, for as readers know, I’ve just begun a two-year MFA program in creative non-fiction writing at Goucher College. All week we’ve been purging old clothes, shoes, toys, books, papers and other mindless knick knacks, while making room for the requisite back-to-school sneakers, supplies and the like.
This “letting go” and “taking in” feels especially poignant to me right now since graduate school has me thinking a lot about balance. Much as I would love to apply the intensity, discipline and solitude of my two-week Goucher residency to life at home, I can’t. This focused time away to attend lectures, workshops, read, write and engage in community with other writers was a sacred and particular experience. To think that I can clone that platform anywhere else is plain foolish. I wear too many hats, as most of us do.
And yet, it is possible, I hope, to distill some of my experience by embracing balance. Routines will be set once school begins but weekends and vacation are more unstructured by definition, and therefore, thornier for working moms with fluid schedules. Time stops but moves along, too.
It’s a privilege to be a mom, responsibilities and all. It’s a privilege to be someone’s life partner and to help care for our home and family. It’s a privilege to be a daughter and friend and colleague. And it’s a privilege to be finding my voice as a writer. Together, the parts add up to the whole.
“The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really a wise man.” Euripides (And woman!!!)