When I started writing a little more than ten years ago, I had a 4 year old and a 1 year old. It was relatively easy for me to write around their schedules. Then I had a third child. Then we added a 4th. All that time the older two thought they should be growing up. I might have thought it was a challenge to find time to write while the kids napped or after bedtime, but I’ve since learned those days were a relative breeze.
Currently our oldest is 15 and competing in high school gymnastics. That’s in addition to competing with her USAG gym and coaching a couple nights a week. Add in youth group and other activities, and this young lady is super busy. Taxiing her around is practically a full time job. (Our girl is the tall blonde one to the left)
Then our now 12 year old is on a swim team, plus still takes gymnastics. He’s also super involved with the youth group and starting to practice with the youth band which means hours of playing the piano here at the house. Add in taxiing him around to those activities and his dog sitting jobs, and there’s a little more chaos.
This photo was from one of his meets this winter. He was there to swim. I was there to be an official, because if I’m going to take him to all the meets, I might as well have a job to do, right?
Our 7 year old is also a competitive gymnast. That’s what happens when you’re born the week your sister joins the gym. And as much as she might tell you she’s not really all that into it, all the non-stop front walkovers onto the couch might tell you a different story. (she’s the one in fifth place with the big grin).
Then there’s little guy who’s 5. He gets to do gymnastics or swimming — period — because that’s all mom can handle. 🙂 But he doesn’t mind. He keeps me company on all of the shuttling and enjoys listening to the audio books we use to pass the time.
Life is chaotic, but who’s life isn’t. When you’ve got a house full of kids, you learn to find time around their schedules to do what is important (right, Jody Hedlund?). You learn to write books in 15 and 30 minute chunks. Because when you’re surrounded by faces as cute as these, it’s worth it.
It means focusing on the time you have with these kids who suddenly aren’t toddlers anymore and praying for words to flow when you can sit down and write. It’s about thinking about the characters and plot while you’re driving everywhere. It’s about having a soundtrack that gets you right in the flow the moment you sit down. It’s about celebrating where you are and the journey.
And for those of you who like gymnastics, here’s our 15 year old at a high school meet last night. This is what we call a stuck landing.