Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I'm taking a break from editing my friend's dissertation. I'm so impressed with people that use their minds all day long. I've never had a job where I had to sit at a desk and think think think. It's exhausting.

Don't get me wrong. When I was a teacher, I had to think---How do I craft this lesson? What can I do to help Child X move ahead when Child Z is still five steps behind? Is there a homoerotic subtext between Romeo and Mercutio? But, it was an easy thinking. So much of teaching is just instinct---you know what needs to be done, and you do it.

At least it was that way for me. But editing somebody else's work---holding another person's baby in my cold, unflinching hands, is a responsibility I don't take lightly. If I don't do my job, then the writing will not do the job it's meant to do.

And it all come back to parenting. Each day, I'm editing Owen and Joel's life. I'm deleting the behaviors I don't care for---such as Owen's need to bark orders at me: "Mommy--Get Milk NOW!!" I'm writing in the margins, "More--expand!" when Owen is telling a story about the imaginary fish he caught in the bathtub. When Owen has a moment of clarity, "Christmas IS Jesus's birthday," I'm scrawling, "This is fantastic," adding smiley faces and exclamation points.

Joel's composition is a little easier and a little harder. I find that my most frequent comment is "Unclear." Is he squawking because he is exhausted or really happy? It's a fine line with this one. However, I'm already starting to write new things...a "good job" when he rolls over, and a "Me too!" when we find something mutually amusing. I'm looking forward to the day when Joel inspires exclamation points and gold stars all of his own.

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