Ever since the first of my babies was born, nearly three years ago, I’ve struggled with the idea of writing in this space as I used to. Part of that stems from the obvious adjustment that one, and now two, babies means in terms of time. The only reason that I can type this now is that my toddler is not home and my baby is sleeping—on me, as a matter of fact; she is wrapped across my torso, snoozing as I write at the standing desk in our living room (a wise choice; I never knew how well this arrangement would lend itself to babywriting/babywearing/babywritingwearing).
The other reason I don’t write as much is that, well, I don’t write as much. It’s no longer a requirement of my profession; when I was in graduate school, I wrote here frequently in order to keep myself writing frequently elsewhere. The words that I typed here made it easier for me to type the other words that I needed to write, and my blogging and my work wove themselves together over the years, converging in my affection for plants, dinosaurs, and miscellaneous household objects.
My job now is to teach, and primarily to teach writing, and it would be good, I think, if I wrote as much as I think and talk and organize and administer on and in things relating to writing. But it’s hard to write about your job, even if your job is about writing, especially when you’re in the first part of the tenure track. There have been many things I’ve wanted to write here about my three years (and counting) as a community college English professor, a job that I love and that I find challenging in ways that are mostly very fulfilling, but it’s been hard for me to find the words that seem appropriate to my new position. I’ve been teaching for a decade, but the last three years have moved me to a different position, and my public writing has not followed me so easily.
Yesterday, though, as my newborn was sobbing inconsolably in her carseat as I drove my station wagon back to my large suburban ranch home (how do these things come to pass?), I had an odd moment of writerly inspiration, something that has not happened to me in more than a passing moment during the last three years of my frantic adjustment to professionalism and parenthood. I spent the day with an old friend of mine (how lucky I am to count multiple poets in my acquaintance) and I think that seeing her shook loose some of the cobwebs; whatever it was, I suddenly wanted to write. And of course I didn’t get to, in that moment—nursing and diapers and piles of tiny, dirty pastel clothing were there first, when I got home—but it visited me again this afternoon, as I was walking in my garden (a wreck of weeds and determined, still-lovely peonies).
It’s so odd, but the thing that’s been inspiring me to write is this—a woven wrap with windmills on it, with which I wrap and carry my daughter. She’s right here now, bound to my chest in a choreography of twists and knots I learned though watching youtube videos. I own several wraps now, all purchased second (and often third or fourth) hand through exchanges orchestrated on the many babywearing facebook groups I now belong to (again, how does this happen?); online spaces where parents discuss and trade the ephemera of babywearing. I’m not quite sure that “ephemera” is the right word here, but then again, it may be just right; time with babies is always moving with such unaccountable swiftness (though the individual days and nights can often seem interminably long).
So, on one of these groups, I wrote a post about what I was feeling about this wrap. Windmills, of all things. I don’t know why I love this; but of course I know why I love this, standing, writing, her heart beating against mine. I never could have imagined. And yet here I am, back again and writing in the same place that I used to write before any of this came to pass.