Hi friend, I’ve been waiting to share “An Essay to My Younger Self” with you since it won first place in the Institute For Writers contest—and now I have permission and it seems like a perfect reflection piece as the sun begins to set on another year. This is a slight departure from my regular musings, but I hope you’ll take a couple of minutes to read it and be encouraged or inspired—whatever your season of life. Enjoy…
THE NEST OF NOW
Dearest Laura, I see you lean against the kitchen sink and gaze through the window to the backyard now buried under a foot of fresh snow. A beam of sunlight streaks through the smeared glass and a smile curves your lips. Full house, full heart. You cherish your nest of now, bustling and busy with the chatter of your chicks. You rock your baby boy in one strong arm and dish out fishy crackers to his toddler brother while their big sister reads yet another Little House on the Prairie book aloud before you finish homeschooling for the day.
You adore your life as a thirty-two-year-old English girl living in beautiful British Columbia with your Prince-Charming-high-school-sweetheart. As Mommy of three happy, healthy darlings, you drop into bed like a rock in a pond night after night, causing ripples of delight and exhaustion to permeate your dreams until you next awake. But something else hovers in the wings of those dreams, something you can’t quite commit to spoken words—but it’s present. Simmering. Marinating. Waiting for its turn on center stage.
You see it when you read bedtime stories to sleepyheads.
You feel it when you pay attention to family, friends, faith.
You know it in the depths of your heart, remember it from your own childhood; The Secret you have never uttered to another soul.
To be a writer. An author. Leave a legacy of story.
Oh, to have the confidence and clarity to put pen to paper and write someday! A book. Yes, a book. To hold in your hands and share with the world…
It will happen, dearest.
But again, as dawn breaks and children chatter and Cheerios are poured into plastic dishes the color of daffodils, the dream takes a back seat and you drive the car to church, to ballet, to soccer. You are grateful. You are content. You are a writer-in-training—you just don’t know it yet.
One day soon, your Prince Charming will whisk you away on a much-needed coffee date. Over a tall, skinny caramel macchiato, he will ask you about your dreams. You will wrinkle your nose and declare you are “living the dream”. He will look into your soul with a kindness that might take your breath away as he insists you need to have a dream especially for you; a goal, something to work toward and treasure.
After keeping The Secret for twenty-five years, you will now blurt out your desire to write a book in a nonchalant manner, but it will hit your man between the eyes. You’ll try to back-pedal as he realizes you have kept this heart-desire from him all these years, and you’ll admit you don’t have time to pursue anything “selfish” in the nest of now, in mommy-mode. But he’s not upset—he’s elated. Intrigued by you, his mysterious girl. And you should know that he’ll always believe in you, be your biggest cheerleader, and will encourage you every step of the way.
After that coffee date, your life will become richer, fuller, and busier than you could ever have imagined as you discover a new part of yourself; the writer. You’ll realize that as well as being mother, wife, daughter, sister, and friend—this was what you were created to do. To share your words.
You’ll begin with Bambi legs, all wobbles and knobbles and insecurities because you need to start at the very beginning. You’ll cry actual tears when you are rejected, but buckle up because those rejections will be relentless, causing you to grow a thick skin and improve your craft immeasurably. You’ll hear the imposter syndrome voices in your head that remind you of your lack; lack of education, experience, youth, finances, and connections. Get used to dismissing that spiteful ensemble, for it is a writer’s constant companion…
But, Laura, you must press on, persevere, and be patient with the process. I know you fancy yourself as the next Beatrix Potter, but truth be told, you’ll write in a myriad of genres. Mainly romantic suspense, in fact—not many fluffy bunnies wearing bright blue jackets! So be open to new opportunities, take chances, and keep learning. In a couple of decades, you’ll have ten books published, with contracts for more and you’ll be a writing coach, encouraging and empowering other writers. For now, as you watch snowflakes dance beyond your kitchen window with the only urgency being another dirty diaper, know that you are being shaped, prepared, and strengthened for what is to come.
When you are older, some will ask if you wish you had taken a different route to writing or if you should have pursued it earlier. But trust me, as a writer you will need years of life to draw from. The hard and beautiful work you are doing in the nest of now as a Mommy investing in her darlings is utterly priceless. It will be a blessing to others, too. You will never regret a moment of it. And so, when you have the opportunity amidst the craziness, document those details of delight and despair, of laughter and lament, of celebrations and sass—all the things that will fade with time. You’ll thank yourself for those treasures later on.
One last thing from a grandmother to a mother. From me to me. I know you won’t yet appreciate the truth that time is running through your fingers quicker than the white sugar currently covering the granite countertops as you bake chocolate-chip cookies with your darlings. But it’s true; in the blink of an eye writing will be your everyday joy-job, and for you and Prince Charming, the nest will be utterly empty. Yet still full of love…
So, would you make every effort to live each nest-of-now day in the present? Wonder at the minutia. Listen well. Read books. Kiss your babies. Count your blessings. And when the time comes, dearest girl:
Pursue your passion.
Follow the dream.
Thanks for taking the time to read this! The certificate and prize money were fabulous, but most of all I wanted to be able to share my essay with you right here at home on the blog.
* For a little peek behind the curtain, feel free to hop over to the Institute For Writers and check out my interview in their “Winners Circle” HERE!
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:” Ecclesiastes 3:1
Enjoy your Nest of Now—whatever that looks like,
Until next time…
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