One of the many hats I wear these days is that of aspiring writer.
As you’ve doubtlessly noticed, I’ve begun writing a blog again. Hurrah! Not just for you, dear readers, but for me. I truly enjoy writing. It’s something that I’ve missed terribly over the last year. Many days would go by and I would think of things I long to put down on paper, to immortalize in print, and not let the thought or the moment slip by me. A few times, late at night, when the boy was finally asleep, I would flip open my lap top and attempt to breathe fresh life into my novel. Every time though, my mind drew a blank or simply wandered over to the unfolded laundry, groceries needed, or bills still to be paid. Other times, I simply didn’t have the desire to muster up creativity at 11pm on a Tuesday night. I was mentally and physically exhausted. I literally needed an hour or two before bed just to unwind and think my own thoughts for just a little while. Given this situation, writing simply wasn’t an option.
But before I go to far into my aspirations in writing, I’m afraid I must give you a back story.
As you know (or at least I think you know), I’m a librarian by education and trade. I was working towards my Masters in Library and Information Science when Connor was born. I finished about 8 months after he was born. It is one of my greatest accomplishments to date. I loved library school, and it showed! Most days I actually enjoyed the readings, the lectures, the assignments. They got me thinking and kindled a passion for libraries that continues to burn within me. I won’t bore you with details about how libraries are a great democratic institution or how librarians are often on the forefront of civil rights issues. I’m sure you know all that.
And for those that say that libraries are no longer relevant, I say suck it!
Oh, dear, I apologize. What I really meant to say was…suck it.
Libraries continue to be extremely relevant in today’s world, perhaps more so than ever before given the information inundation to be found on the internet. You may think you can do without a librarian because you have Wikipedia and an e-Reader, and you would be wrong. Librarians are trained in finding information, meaning we can find accurate information for you in less time than it would take you to read through an often erroneous Wikipedia article. For example, I had a conversation with a friend of mine last fall about his research for his graduate thesis. He literally spent months going through journals and books and databases searching for information relevant to his topic. I explained to him that if he’d simply asked the reference librarian at his school (or if he’d asked me) we could have helped him over a matter of days to find all the information he would need. I am not exaggerating, this is actual fact. Librarians help you!
On top of that, I actually enjoy research. I enjoy recommending books to young readers. I enjoy planning storytimes and creating activities to go along with them.
So why am I currently a full-time stay-at-home mom, part-time aspiring writer instead of a full-time librarian?
Well, from August 2011-January 2012 I worked full-time as a reference librarian for the County of Los Angeles Public Library. I loooooved my job! It was great! I got to do everything I loved about being a librarian.
But of course, there was a downside. The job was in Gardena. I live in Huntington Beach. That’s a 30 min drive each way on a good day, an hour on a bad one. My schedule also required that I work until after 8pm three nights a week; which meant I wasn’t getting home until about 9pm.
Connor suffered as a result.
At first, it seemed everything was going well. He had therapy in the morning, which I could take him to since the library didn’t open until 1pm (I didn’t have to be there until 11:30). I’d then drop him off at day care and head to work. His part-time nanny, whom I had to hire, then picked him up from daycare and took him home, fed him dinner, gave him a bath, and attempted to put him to bed (he was almost never actually asleep when I finally got home). After a week or two, Connor went to daycare without crying, he seemed to be doing fine in therapy, and he was overjoyed to see me each night. I was exhausted, but I seemed to be pulling off this whole single mom thing and Connor was happy.
But things didn’t stay that way. After a few months, Connor grew increasingly desperate to see me. Every morning was a battle to get him into therapy, into daycare, to sleep at night. Each night he left his bed within a few hours of going to sleep and came in with me. In his sleep he clung on to me with a desperation that broke my heart.
Therapy seemingly stopped working for him. His behavior regressed. His speech stagnated. He was nearly three and he couldn’t string a sentence together. Any tiny problem sent him over the edge. And he became increasingly violent when upset.
My own anxiety tripled. I worried so much I lost sleep. I stopped doing things I enjoyed; I even stopped doing housework almost completely so that when I was home with Connor, I could focus my time and attention on him. I felt guilty over any time I electively spent away from him, choosing to only spend time out with friends when Connor was with his dad. The rest of my time I devoted to him.
And then my contract with the library ended. Suddenly I was home all the time.
Connor bloomed in the light of my attention. Having some consistency in his life, my nearly constant presence, started opening doors within him that had recently shut. His behavior began to improve again at therapy. He didn’t cry every time I dropped him off somewhere. And suddenly he was speaking! He was talking practically nonstop! Phrases, sentences, questions! It was as if it had all been bottled up inside of him, waiting to come out and all I had to do was flip the switch.
It was obvious what I had to do. My love for the library, my own desires of being a librarian and of working, had to be put aside. Connor’s doctors told me what I already knew: if I could stay home full-time while Connor is going through this key developmental phase, it would be so much better for him.
It was done. My choice was made. Connor has always, will always come first.
So here I am. It’s 1pm and I’m at the Huntington Beach library writing to you all via my blog. I’m a full-time mom again for the forseeable future. I do not begrudge Connor this, circumstances being what they are out in the world library jobs are hard to come by anyways. But I do miss it.
Until….until….Honestly, I’m not sure what the end date is on this situation. All I know is that Connor is my job. Getting Connor to the best possible place in his development is my goal. Making him ready for the world is my profession.
And in the meantime, I’ll write.