When Life Intrudes...

I've been a writer my entire professional life, not to mention the years I spent writing stories in high school. I don't remember a time when I didn't want to be a writer, except for a brief period in elementary school when I thought I wanted to be an archeologist and uncover ruins in Italy.

After college, I went to work for a newspaper. With a degree in English, it was either that or go back to school to teach. Uh, no. I didn't want to teach. I wanted to write. I ended up writing news, which I hated. Four hour meetings talking about zoning and staff reduction and eminent domain. I shudder to remember.

After a few years, I found myself a niche: the lifestyle and entertainment department. It was the perfect fit for me, as I love movies and television and feature writing allowed for more creativity than news.

Then I had my first child and after three months back at work, I left the paper to stay home with my son and freelance. After the birth of my second child, I started thinking about the possibility of a broader writing career, one which I've been able to parlay into a reality. It's been a struggle every step of the way, even though I love to write.

When my kids were young, I struggled to find time to write freelance articles for money, much less a novel with no guarantee on a return. But over, the years, I learned how to rock a baby in a seat with one foot and type silently while the other one slept. I learned to write at night. I learned to write early in the morning. I learned to write in five minute increments. And I learned to write at a noisy swimming pool (indoor or outdoor), soccer practice, baseball practice and karate lesson.

Then I got spoiled. The kids went to school, leaving whole blocks of hours for writing. They didn't need me to entertain them as much.

But my kids became teenagers and I now have an entirely new set of worries. What are they doing? Who are they with? Are they making smart choices about, well, everything?

For the first time, I'm finding it hard to write through it. Hell, I'm finding it hard to live through. Every stage of a child's life is difficult but what happens when your children begin to have a life that doesn't involve you?

I keep telling myself this too shall pass. Unfortunately, so will my kids. Right out of my house.
Stephanie Julian