Long Eyes: On Seeing the Big Picture (and Not Embarrassing the Kids)

It’s Thursday, and the weather has finally cooled enough here that you can walk outside without the humidity slobbering all over you like a drunk date. David drove the girls to school this morning, so Cian and I took the dog for a walk around the neighborhood before I got ready for work (more on that in another post–I’m still writing from home, but my approach to it has changed). As we rounded the block, Cian was looking for our house–he really wanted to know what the back of it looked like from down the hill. Finally, he spotted it: “There it is! That’s our house, right?” Now, I’ve needed glasses since I was five. “You can see that far?” I asked, totally impressed–and maybe a little jealous–by this kid of mine with perfect vision.”Yup!” he said. He was skipping. “I have long eyes.”

Long eyes. Oh, to have long eyes.

For the past few months, whenever I’ve sat down to write something here, I’ve stalled. I write half-finished drafts that never get posted, or stare at the screen long enough that my eyes lose focus, or more often, just get up and walk away. I’ve been working on Book #3 (Book #2–called A Version of Lucky–is being shopped to publishers), so that has something to do with it: when I’m writing fiction, it’s hard for me to transition out to write about, you know, life. My sugar-addled brain can only handle so much.

There’s another concern, too: the girls are already old enough that I can’t write whatever I’d like about them anymore. It’s mainly Quinlan. She broke her collarbone right before the school year started, and on one of the very first days, she came stomping down the parking lot, her sling tugged across her chest in some sort of indignant fury: “MOM. Why did that grown-up tease me about JUMPING OFF THE FURNITURE? MOOOOOOOMMMMM!” 

(I may have posted something on Facebook about her leaping across the dining room chairs two days after she cracked the bone. Honest, I just thought it was funny.)

I need to figure out what to do here. Before, with my “short eyes,” I would take this blog day by day, and just jot down the stories I fell on as they happened. But now, with two kids away from me most of the day and evening, and one of those kids already into the tween hormones (actually, that one is the one who doesn’t mind the stories–Saoirse thinks I’m making her famous), I have to figure out what to do here.

So, long eyes, guys. I’ve always been someone whose best decisions were made by the seat of her pants: marrying David. Becoming a teacher. Joining U2. (Okay, that one isn’t true). But this writing thing–the blog, the books, maybe the teaching again–needs shaping. It needs me to look at it from all angles, including from way down here at the bottom of the hill. I’ve got to work on being able to stretch myself to see a bit further than I do now.

I’ll still be writing about the kids, of course. I mean, how can I not? But don’t tell Quinlan I told you that. 

Something tells me she’d rather I keep this to myself.






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