A Final Haines Home Companion: a Secret I’ve Kept
Yesterday I posted this to Facebook: “This mothering of 4 small boys is no freaking joke. I am a hard core mutha. I drive a mini-van, and I can only do about 5 pushups, but I promise that I could walk into the scariest place you can think of right now, and I wouldn’t blink an eye. #IMayHavePTSDinaFewYears but probably I’ll just be able to run the world.”
If I told you what happened right before I wrote that post, you would see stars. Imagine that it involved the interruption of that tiny moment of silence right before a shower, when you’re standing there naked, and then someone comes in screaming, and then you don’t know how to cover yourself because your brain went to mush, and then you grabbed a towel and hardly wrapped it round. Then you started running and when you saw all the blood, you decided to run to the back of the house again, but then when you did, you realized there had been no reason for leaving the scene of the crime. You were literally just running around like a useless, headless, naked chicken. That’s the only part I’m going to let you imagine to preserve dignity, not my own, obviously.
I keep jars of dignity all over my house. As kids get older, you get better and better at preserving things, lest you damage the truth of what they think of themselves and lest you lose your ever loving ability to put on a robe or conversate with other humans.
The stage we’re in seems critical. The older they get, the more weight our words have and the more crushed or made they can be by a facial expression. They already look so different from the school pictures taken a few months ago. Also, Ian’s spelling and handwriting will never say “pgwnz” again.
He had a kindergarten program a few weeks ago, and I remember my own kindergarten program vividly, and now in a flash, I’m 34. When I feel time moving crazy like this, I get extra emotional. Before the school’s talent show began the other day, the song You’re Amazing came on, and over half the kids started singing together and swaying back and forth. It was all I could do to not stand there and weep. They were so precious. Then Jude did all his karate moves on the stage all by himself, and people clapped, but all he heard were the few boos from bullies. I went from “so-precious face” to “beastly, fanged mother growl.”
This ole blog isn’t a big thing, and neither am I, but some of you have stuck with me. Many of you know stories of my girlhood and how homesick I stay. Many of you have prayed for our Titus, and please keep praying because he isn’t well. I think he’ll be getting that feeding tube again. Many of your children know Titus’ name because they have prayed, too. It’s a big deal. You’ve read my words and have encouraged me in ways that are very real. Sometimes words are just words. Sometimes they are Spirit.
I’m taking the Summer off this ole blog, because Summer Break is here, and I think I might blink and it will be over. But listen. I have something to tell you, because most of you have been with me for a while and have prayed.
I have been writing that book I said I would. I signed with Revell back in February, and I love that team. They feel close and real to me. They make me feel small in the right way that I am. To have my name on a big document like that is rattling, but Seth keeps me on task in about a trillion ways. My manuscript is due August 15th, and I have loved the process of writing a book. I don’t know how many times I’ve been writing at my desk and then suddenly I pause to gulp big and think how grateful I am to do the little-girl thing I always wanted to do.
Gratitude brings glory to anything, but besides that, it’s a whole bunch of lonely grinding. There are entire days that feel wasted. One chapter took 5 weeks to write, and then I wrote two chapters in three days. It’s a freaky spirit thing with tiny spurts of one word in front of the other. It’s the feeling of lost and then a whoosh rushing out thousands of words.
It’s thinking your chapter is complete and then having a dream or going back to read it to find that it makes a whole different kind of sense than you meant for it to make.
I’m learning a lot about space and intimacy with the Spirit and discipline. I’ve learned that it’s expensive to drink coffee to pay for a spot to write. It’s less expensive to rent a little shared space in town. So that’s what I did. I call it “A Room of Her Own,” and the only things I hear in that room are my own coffee pot, a train whistle, and a music studio. Once in a while, a little girl may sing karaoke, and every smack bit of that makes me happy.
This summer I’ll be writing a book that I love, and that’s my job now after keeping my eyes on the boys so that they don’t make each other bleed too much. I love the title of my book, and I can’t wait to tell you everything. I love looking back through my blog here to help me remember fuzzy details. I have been through my archives and cried and felt such gratitude toward Jesus and toward you.
During this summer blog-break, I’ll be living such fodder. My Haines Home Companions will no longer be on the blog but will only come once a month to you friends who sign up. It feels more like a letter to those who really want to know about our real lives. I’m excited to write there about my writing process as well.
Now in the meantime, I invite you to link-up to any Marriage Letters you write this summer and also to any posts you write considering a Revolution in the American Church. That’s a big deal to me, and I want others coming here to keep thoughts whirling on it all. Please link below.
Y’all come back here to check on the conversation. Hopefully it won’t be like when you go to Buzzfeed to check out the Top Ten Cat Mustaches of 2014, and then you get sucked into reading about Swinging Hollywood Chimpanzees or How to Erase Who You Really Are To Be a Better Beyonce. If you start to accidentally read dumb stuff, then come back here and click around, and let me also suggest to you
If you’re looking for a book idea, let me suggest
Nonfiction: Bonnie Gray’s Finding Spiritual Whitespace
Marva Dawn’s Powers, Weakness, and the Tabernacling of God
Fiction: Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings
May your summer never once involve a naked chicken run! May your children’s bleeding be minimal,