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Next Friday, I’m doing another list. I’ve had great response to “My Own Works Cited List: 10 books that have inspired me” (if you haven’t commented with your own faves, I hope you do that next) so next Friday, I’m going to talk about “10 movies that scared the bejeezus out of me.”
But without further ado…
Unfortunately, I am still waiting on publisher permission to use an excerpt from Kyle Bishop’s book, however, inspired by horror writer Mac Campbell’s touchingly heartfelt post, I’ve decided to finally post the short (just over 500 words) nonfiction piece of mine that was accepted by The Sun literary magazine last October for their Reader’s Write section, entitled Slowing Down: On the birth of my daughter.
Similar to Friday Flash, The Sun give a monthly theme (i.e.- Slowing Down), but there is no word limit… except that which is imposed upon you by the editor. I understand the cutting choices they made with my piece, but since this is my blog, I’m publishing it in its entirety here. Almost a year after its publication, it felt like a good reminder for me this week.
Okay, NOW without further ado…
Slowing Down: On the birth of my daughter
They say that when you have a baby, everything changes. Of course, “they” say quite a few things that turn out to be a bunch of crap. Like that the worst thing about having a baby is not knowing why they cry. I would say that the worst thing about having a baby is knowing why they cry and not being able to do anything about it. You watch your little girl under those lights, crying because she can’t be held, crying because she doesn’t want foam goggles covering her eyes, crying because there is a needle in her arm.
At this point, all you want is for time to speed up, for time to solve this problem, but at this point time slows down for the worse. You’re aware of every minute that passes, watching the clock until they run the diagnostics again, and while it can’t happen soon enough, at the same time you’re afraid of what they will tell you.
But time eventually caught up, and the doctors let us go home. And then time slowed down for the better. “They” say that everything gets hectic, and in a way, it does. Even though I had the first two weeks of my daughter’s life off from work, I slept less and moved more than I have in any two weeks of my life. I would just sit down before standing up again, just fall asleep before waking again, just change one diaper when another was needed (often before I could even get the first new one on).
But in all this craziness, when I took a moment to look at her, time slowed almost to a stop, and I didn’t want to be anywhere else. The planet could’ve come crumbling down outside our walls, but inside, the world was suspended in that moment when she looked back, finding my eyes and focusing. Telling me to slow down and remember this moment.
Because life speeds up from here. It’s a mathematical certainty. As we grow older, every year is less and less of a percentage of our overall life so far, and so we live the illusion of time speeding up. But for this moment, I try to remember to slow down.
It’s hard. I’m so used to moving through a problem or situation, figuring the optimal solution and moving on to the next scenario, but I have to slow down because this is not something that my multitasking brain can figure out within a week.
I think about the future, that book I need to finish and get back to my editor, the lawn that needs to be planted, the deck to be finished. All these things that I know will make life better for my baby girl. All these things that make me want to hurry up and get them done.
But without saying a word, without moving from her spot in the bassinette, my baby girl stops me. And she reminds me that there will be time, time for all of that and more. But for now, I just need to slow down. Take this moment for what it is and not worry so much about the future.
What do I want from you?
Well, besides any comments you may have on this piece, I would hope you would check out The Sun magazine.
It’s an amazing (and thankfully non-pretentious) literary magazine. It’s how I keep my finger on the pulse of the literary side of the writing world. Subscriptions aren’t super cheap, but they don’t use any advertising.
From their site:
“The Sun is an independent, ad-free monthly magazine that for more than thirty years has used words and photographs to invoke the splendor and heartache of being human.”
And don’t forget to check back next week for “10 movies that scared the bejeezus out of me.”
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