This is a guest post by the awesome Emily T. Wierenga — author of books, lover of life, and general cool writer gal. Enjoy!
By Emily T. Wierenga
The year is 2011, and Kasher has just turned one month.
He’s a little boy in a vibrating chair at my elbow, and he’s watching me with his father’s eyes, in blue overalls and he’s big for his age and his older brother, napping downstairs.
I’m typing at the dining room table. My fingers smell like bananas, and I’ve still got a half-eaten piece of toast on my plate. One of my paintings hangs on the orange wall behind me; it’s big, with sunflowers, textured with acrylic paint and salt. I’ve got paintings hung all over my house, and the dining room, kitchen and living room are open. When I talk, my quiet voice carries to the edge of the house, touching every room, and this is important to me.
When I was young I was never asked for my opinion. I was never asked my favorite anything, and I was encouraged to be quiet and polite. I still forget I have a voice. I still prefer painting and written words. Because no one can interrupt a picture or an essay.
I haven’t been paid in nine months for articles I’ve been writing for a Christian newspaper and I only realized this last week. I just kept expecting them to send the money, and they didn’t, because they’re broke, and I’m done. I’m done doing interviews and spending hours writing stories only to not get paid or to be paid minimally and it’s been years of journalism. Writing people’s inspiring stories for faith publications, and my spirit is dry.
Kasher has the chubbiest cheeks. He is drooling and trying to smile, I can see it pulling on the edge of his lips as he watches his mommy write a novel, the one that will give me a name, I’ve decided. I’ve been working all my life trying to make something of myself. I was the seven-year-old who never played, who sat at her desk learning to draw cartoons and writing poetry because I wanted to make something of myself, to feel the “I Love You” people said but didn’t show.
I wrote a novel when Aiden was born too. I was going to take six months off but there was so much time in our bungalow with the overarching trees and the bedrooms with no closets. Aiden would jump in his jolly jumper, a bib around his neck and I’d sit with my laptop and my words. Trying to say what I never could to Mum: Why don’t you smile? And to Dad: Why don’t you want to stay home and play with me?
I only write when Aiden’s sleeping now. I don’t want to be the mother that doesn’t play, so I read lots of stories and I chase him around the island and we do homeschool, learning shapes and colors but Kasher’s so small, I still write when he’s awake, and I dread the day when Aiden stops napping.
Kasher’s starting to fuss, and I save my document, my 49,000 words and I take my youngest to the couch to nurse him, the afternoon light falling on our hair and his cheek soft against my chest. I love to watch his hands weave and then tuck and sometimes he folds them in a prayer but mostly he drinks like he can’t get enough, his whole body arching and stretching and then relaxing.
It’s when I rest. Holding him, it’s like a Sabbath.
It’s time to pull out meat and start supper. I’m making tacos.
But even as the beef fries and the sound of the boys downstairs I’m thinking of my characters, of the arc of the story and supper burns even as I try to find the words.
The ones that will save me.
This excerpt is taken from Emily Wierenga’s new memoir, Making It Home: Finding My Way to Peace, Identity and Purpose. Order the book here, or get some free downloadable chapters HERE.
Emily T. Wierenga is an award-winning journalist, columnist, artist, author, founder of The Lulu Tree and blogger at www.emilywierenga.com. Her work has appeared in many publications, including Relevant, Charisma, Desiring God, The Gospel Coalition, Christianity Today, Dayspring’s (in)courage and Focus on the Family. She is the author of six books including the travel memoir Atlas Girl and speaks regularly about her journey with anorexia. She lives in Alberta, Canada, with her husband, Trenton, and their children. For more info, please visit www.emilywierenga.com. Find her on Twitter or Facebook.