Reflections on motherhood, book signings, and what a suitcase full of books means to me now.
Gone for three days, I returned home to a poem written for me and left on my bed. I asked my child who wrote it if I could share it. She said, “sure, as long as I’m anonymous.” So, from my anonymous daughter, here are some of the lines she wrote:
She works so hard
as hard as a baboon. . .
Can you guess
I know it’s mom.
So I left out some of the middle lines. Honestly, I couldn’t get past baboon. I asked her what she meant by it and she answered, “I don’t know, it’s just what I thought of.” I checked National Geographic for baboon facts. I looked for anything I might seriously have in common with them (hold the jokes), and didn’t come up with much. Except for how the mother will hold a newborn baboon next to her stomach for up to a month, with one hand. Then allow it to ride on her back for up to six months. Yowza! No swings, cribs, bouncy seats, car seats or even a Bumbo! But I remembered something about this anonymous daughter and the surgeries she needed as a newborn. And how the crib, activity mat, swing or seat didn’t come close to what she wanted. No, she wanted me, her mom. So I held her close, my shoulder doubled as a mattress for her to sleep as much as possible. And we made it through that first year.
Signing books at the American Mothers Inc Convention in Washington DC
Overall this was such a humbling experience to greet a steady stream of happy, positive women. (There were some lulls, for which I was grateful. Authors aren’t necessarily built with larger bladders than the average population!)
Here’s what I learned about myself. 1.)I would have sat in that room and sold paint brushes for the opportunity to meet some of the most courageous, kindest women–disguised as moms. 2.) Younger moms see me as older. Older moms see me as younger. One mom, after learning the ages of my children, shook her head and said, you can’t be that old. (Nice!) SO I smiled and told her my age. It seems women don’t like to do this after what, age 29? Well, I won’t say it was easy, but I’ve felt strongly about this for a while. Being real. Being who I am. 3.) A little chocolate on the table goes a long way. 4.) I love hearing people’s stories. Not that there was oodles of time for it during the condensed schedule, but there was enough time that I could be amazed and fascinated by the lives people live!
As for the books. One woman asked where the books came from…and with the tilt of my head and puzzled face, she asked further, “Oh did you write them? Both of them?” *Sigh* I wanted to say, “I’m not as dumb as I look.” Or “Don’t be fooled by the blonde, it’s just hair dye.” But I didn’t. I simply nodded enthusiastically and pointed to my name on both covers and said “Oh yes, both of them.” It’s okay. I know I don’t look like much. I’m over it. Almost. 😉
On the bright side, I noticed the name tag of one woman and asked about the town where she lived. Turned out she knew my college roommate from over 20 years ago! Cue “It’s a small world.” We had a great visit and since I don’t believe in coincidences, I felt rather loved through that meeting.
And while I’m talking about feeling loved, I’m going to get a little gooey here. It worked out for my husband to come with me on this trip. And on top of all the normal reasons why this would be nice, we happened to be visiting the city where we were married over 20 years ago. So yes, we did reminisce and enjoy the time and treat it like a mini anniversary trip. But here is the thing. I had to bring a heap of books. (Yes, I could have shipped them ahead but I am also a control freak (or so I’m told). So, no. I wanted to lug them with me all the way there. Maybe it has something to do with this.) Anyway, I didn’t end up lugging them. because my husband, who was under no obligation to come in the first place, helped me pack them carefully and then took ownership of that suitcase from front door to signing table and all the thousands of miles in between. Two flights, one train, one shuttle and so on. That is why if I am ever asked how I spell support, I will answer *S*T*E*V*E*.