I spent the last few days at Faith’s Lodge, leading my winter Motherhood & Words retreat. As always, it was a weekend filled with words—some funny, some difficult to speak aloud. As always, it was inspiring to sit in a circle of amazing women and talk and laugh and cry and share delicious meals and glasses of wine. As always, it confirmed for me that I’m doing the work I need to be doing. As always, I returned home exhausted.
This morning, after the girls and Donny had left for the day, I turned to my Headspace app, knowing I needed some grounding. And then twenty minutes later, feeling quieter inside, I made myself another cappuccino (decaf), and sat down at my desk to catch up on things. That’s when I noticed the letter that had arrived over the weekend from a friend and former student.
I slit open the envelope to find a postcard. On its front is a photograph of a pile of fishing nets in brilliant pinks and blood reds and soft purples. In the top right corner, there is a woman’s hand, only her four fingers visible, pressing into the pile of nets. I stared at it for a long time, lost in those rich colors all spilling into each other, wondering at the woman whose hand is there, just barely visible. And then I turned it over to read my friend’s lovely note inquiring about my health and detailing where she is at with her reading and writing. I smiled as I read, grateful for these communications that continue to connect us long after she was my student and I was her teacher.
I turned it over again and stared at those brilliant fishing nets a little longer and then I read her note again, stopping at this line: “I miss finding your voice in my inbox.”
I had actually started a blog post two weeks ago, and then tried to revisit it last week, but my dad had fallen, and though he is okay—luckily, amazingly—there was still a short hospital stay and appointments and worries. And then prep for my retreat and the retreat itself. On the horizon this week are: a large editing project, catch-up for the online class I’m teaching right now, logistics to attend to for my annual Motherhood & Words reading (April 16th—mark your calendars!), and Zoë’s eight birthday (how can she be 8 already?).
But as I held my friend’s beautiful postcard in my hand, mesmerized by the those brilliant colors on one side and her gentle words on the other, I realized that this week before I do anything else, I need to spend time on my own writing, need to nurture my voice the way I nurture my students’ voices. So before I get to any of those other things today, I’m going dip back into my novel and give myself the space that I’m so dedicated in carving out for others. Thank you, S, for the reminder I didn’t know I needed.