On writing and family. We often hear about how terrible many kinds of artists have been as parents. I, even as a kid learning these things in school, felt that these could not be great men. What ever their accomplishments, they failed at the most basic of human tasks, taking care of your children.
As a writer, I write very little. For years it was due to putting my family first. Now it is a combination of that and my health. Family now does not impede my writing, except for my Prodigal Daughter, who wounds my heart and soul each and every day. I lose sleep and have had my health deteriorate stressing over my Lost Lambs. This makes me a better parent than so many artists, but it makes me a terrible artist. I produce far too little. I am not true to my art.
I do not excuse the artists, great and small, who neglected their families, but I understand them far better now. If they were not great men, they were great artists. I fear I am neither.
Sorry, but after the joy of Christmas Eve and the delight of a Christmas which turned out to be amazingly good, I am feeling down since I must mail gifts to my four little ones who live only an hour away. How my Prodigal Daughter can be so full of hate on Christmas, towards people who love her so much, eludes me, but so it is.
On that, let me note that Onna and James, both of whom she wants me to disown as a condition of seeing her and my Lost Lambs again, have never regarded her as a step sister. They grew up calling her, and still call her their sister. For a few months when she first tried to force them out of my life, they started calling her, for the first time ever, their step sister. It didn’t last. They love her too much, even when she is acting so abominably. They are back to referring to her as their sister. I seem to have managed to teach some of my children the value of love. I did something right.
Sorry to be so down, but so it is today. Remember the surprise and delight I had in having a joyful Christmas Eve and a wonderful family Christmas. Kids all over the place, noise, mess, presents to wrestle out of those horrible shrink wrap packages...well, you know a family Christmas. I loved it.
I wasn’t even upset by poor Alex's throwing up on the stairs and in front of the kitchen. I was worried about him, of course, but it wasn’t bad. He admitted he had sneaked a peanut butter cookie at another relative's house. He knows to avoid anything with peanuts, but when everyone else is enjoying a treat, it is so hard for a kid to accept that limit. He was fine, just an upset stomach. As soon as he threw up, he felt great. Ah, Christmas.
I remember as a custodian that the worst day of the year for those dreaded vomit calls from a desperate teacher was always the last day before Christmas vacation -- room parties and lots and lots of treats...