I woke up to a rejection from a magazine this morning, a rejection for a set of poems I’d sent a few months ago. It was the kind of rejection that felt encouraging, like they believe I really have something to offer, even though they don’t see their magazine as a fit for this specific work. The kind of rejection that makes me want to submit again.
It’s humbling to be a writer, to fancy yourself an authority – among many, many – of words and syllables and emotions. There are so many experts out there. So many people who are better at this, more disciplined, more successful. It’s always been that way, it will always be that way.
Last night, before his bath, my son wanted to snuggle. “Mama bed,” he said, and we got up from the couch where we’d been cozy and walked into my room. He can, most days, get up in there by his own now, and that’s what he did last night, climbing the frame and grabbing on to the comforter and grunting as he pulled himself forward. “Mama here,” he said when he arrived at this destination, pointing to the spot just next to him. I obliged, of course, and we laid there and talked as he drummed his fingers on my sternum, as he put his small body on top of mine.
On our flight last week, I was surprised to find how much he wanted to be in physical contact with me. I shouldn’t have been, I suppose; he is affectionate even on the ground. Yet in the air, and in unfamiliar surroundings, he found ways to fully be on me, contorting himself into new shapes to maximize his skin on mine. On the flight home, he fell asleep on me, spread out, and laid there for hours, slumbering through the occasional adjustment I had to make.
This weekend, we are moving into a new house. “New hou,” my son exclaims whenever we go over there, before joyfully running to the backyard or the garage. He loves it there and I do too, and it’s a huge, happy step forward in our lives. True to who I am, though, the process has been thornier than I’d like, though it’s also been simple; I know this is what I want, and yet I find myself wrapped in nostalgia for what I’m leaving behind. It is not a loss; it is the consequence of growth. I’m reminded of how I’m a work in progress, no matter how old I get, no matter how many moves I’ve made.
Sitting at my kitchen table, it comes to me that I would like to write about it. That’s what I’ve always done when I need to make sense of the world or my place in it. In all likelihood, those words will never see the light of the day, because of all the countless, thousands of letters I’ve strung together, the vast majority of them have stayed just with me. But it doesn’t matter. It’s what I do.
The rejections keep coming. I keep writing. We’ll move. My little one will get bigger. My hair will continue to gray. And if I’m lucky, I’ll remember to find the delight in all of it. That is how this life goes.