Dani Shapiro
February 3, 2009

On More Snow Days

My boy is home from school today. Some sort of snow/ice/freezing rain storm is supposed to hit this afternoon. And I am holed up in my office, desperately needing to work but feeling ripped to shreds by having to make the choice between motherhood and writing on this gray, gloomy morning. Do fathers go through this? As politically incorrect as it is to say so, I don’t think they do. At least not the same way. Ever since the day Jacob was born, part of me is tuned in to him no matter where I am or what I’m doing.

Our wonderful babysitter is downstairs. The dogs are running around. Jacob has a new game for the Wii–Rock Band–which should keep him occupied. So why do I feel so…guilty? So torn? Usually in this situation I would leave the house and go sit in a cafe — and I may have to do that today. But I’m going to try to stay right here, with my door closed, and move past this feeling and into the work. Seven books, and on days like this it still feels like a selfish choice I’m making, rather than what I do with my life–not to mention my livelihood. Could I take a day off? Theoretically, yes. But it’s more of a matter of what that day off would cost me when I return to the manuscript. Lately I’ve been pushing hard, making progress, feeling in control. But as every writer knows, we have to ride that wave when it presents itself. Never taking it for granted. Never presuming that it will still be here tomorrow, or the next day.

I hope Jacob will understand, some day. I hope the books–at least some of them? one or two of them?–are worth the sacrifice of these days of his childhood. Later today, I’ll make it up to him. We’ll make popcorn tonight, watch a movie. And slowly the bad mommy feeling will fade away to nothing.