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  • Christine Shuck

Swerve, Adapt, Continue

“If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.”

Uh huh.


How often does this happen to you? It feels like it happens on a daily basis with me.

As the school year ended and my erstwhile 14 year old was finally able to attend three weeks of class in person before the end of the semester, I was looking forward to reclaiming my office.


My sit/stand desk has a view of the front of the house and street beyond

Don't get me wrong, it was lovely having her there, but it was also distracting. And I found myself wanting to be alone with my thoughts. I wanted space and time and silence. And those three things aren't possible when you have an 8th grader using Zoom for her classwork. Or later, when class was done, and she wanted the higher computing power her cell phone couldn't give her to play Minecraft.



And did I mention the husband has been home too through all of this? Of course he has. Honestly, I count myself lucky that the 5 1/2 year old has daycare. She is happier for it, and so are we. It seems I have come full circle. Once upon a time with a child (now adult) I had to work in offices to survive. Daycare was desperately needed. Then I had my middle child and I wanted nothing more than to spend every day with her. Then I became a foster mom and, thanks to COVID lost my cleaning business and turned my energies to writing full-time from home. I am very, very thankful for daycare. She gets to play with friends all day!



A week or so ago, my husband helped the teen pack up her computer and move it back into her room, and I reveled in the new space. I added a chaise lounge, moved her desk to in front of the currently defunct fireplace (eventually we will have it re-lined and add a gas fireplace there) as an art table, and moved my desk so I can see (to some degree) out the front of the house.



Monday rolled around and I was looking forward to the angsty teen spending one last year in summer camp, the little one being in daycare until Kindergarten starts up in the fall, and me alone with my computer for hours on end. By Wednesday, that dream had changed.



"I'm not liking it at all," the teenager complained. "None of my friends are here, there's this annoying boy, and we can't even go to the pools due to COVID." This was nuts, especially for us since we have all been vaccinated (well, except for the little one).


I will confess this - with all of my children I have been exceedingly aware of the passage of time. I look at them and I calculate down to the year, sometimes the month, of how long I have left with them. It's never as long as I want, even if I often hope for some measure of solitude so that I can focus on my writing projects.


And the kiddo is fourteen years old! By the end of the year she will turn 15 and have her driver's permit. I can count the years left on one hand and have fingers left over. And if that wasn't enough reason to re-assess my summer, I don't know what is.


So I committed to 2-3 events/activities per week - most of them involving water of some kind. I try to write each weekday from at least 8 - 11 a.m. before I work on cleaning The Cottages (our short-term rentals) and then by 1pm we are at a pool, a creek, a museum or more. That's the plan at least.


G581: Earth is currently at 64,501 words. I have 34 chapters identified and planned, and I have completed 19 and started a handful more. So... 2/3 complete? Thereabouts.


For now I have zero idea how long this will take. I was supposed to be finished this week. And I am not. I'm doing my best to write at least 1,000 words per day, and when I get on a roll, I can write 3,000 without too much difficulty. I do not write on weekends. Family life and its demands keep me busy both days.


I'll keep everyone updated, though. It's a process, and it revolves around life and things far more important, like the kiddo who will soon be an adult. I'll take the time I have left with her and make the most of it.


Wouldn't you?!


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