I write these books. Books is generous, or perhaps, write is generous. I assemble these books for my daughters' birthdays. They are full of photos from the previous year and accompanied by a story. Although, last year, for O's third birthday, I wimped out and did an alphabet book. A is for Absolutely Overwhelmed.
Now, O's fourth birthday has come and gone and I sit staring at the computer screen with P's second birthday standing menacingly over my shoulder. I am two books past deadline. I understand that it's not a real deadline, not a publisher's-breathing-down-your-neck deadline, but rather a self-imposed, pretending-to-have-your-shit-together deadline. And I do, mostly, have my shit together. But the 26th of April has come and gone, and not only is O's 4th book not here, it's not even written. I guess my fear is that it will become too easy not to do it, that I will fall so far behind and the backlog will become insurmountable, and they'll have these two or three lovely memories from their early life, and not the eighteen-volume set I had envisioned, kind of like that baby book that is 1/3 filled out (thanks a lot Mom and Dad). And maybe it's just that, it starts to feel like another failure, and what is modern parenting, if not a series of real or imagined failures?
So this time, I've chosen not to fail, real or imagined. I've chosen to write that book, in spite of being tired, in spite of feeling uninspired, in spite of being so far past my self-imposed deadline, and in spite of the inevitability of next year's book's being due in nine months. I want them to have that record, that eighteen-volume set, and gosh darn it, I need a win.
The upside is, after an hour or so of nonjudgmental typing, I'm about halfway done. Jim assures me the story is charming and the layout is attractive. I might even believe him tomorrow, but hey, worst case scenario, it will be the Superman IV of an eighteen-part series.
We aren't failing. We may be succeeding in a way that is different than we imagined, but we aren't failing. Today, O told me she thought the most important thing is to be kind. That feels like a win.