Léna is also a Regional Manager for Writopia Lab whose mission is to foster joy, literacy, and critical thinking in kids and teens from all backgrounds through creative writing.

"Well, the question is, what do you want to believe? Do you want to live in a world where things are possible, or in one where they aren't?" Cin, Edges.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Book Award Gala vs. 6th Grade Orchestra

Tonight I had planned to go to my first ever Awards Ceremony. The Girls Write Now's 2011 Opening Lines Anthology won an Independent Publishers Book Award Gold Medal in the Independent Voice category!!  I was co-editor on this project last tear and have been over the moon for the recognition it brings to Girls Write Now.

But I am in a quandary. I bent over backwards trying to mold my workshop schedule into submission so that I could attend, but then I didn't check my family schedule.

This morning, my twelve year old said to me: "So mom, you're coming to my orchestra performance, right?"

"What?" I spluttered. "But I have this thing in the city tonight . . ."

He's only been in rehearsals twice a week all year. No big deal, right?

I had envisioned schmoozing, making new contacts, and getting a nice big juicy picture of me and my co-editor, Kirthana Ramisetti holding up the award. It would be a proud moment.

"I really wish that you come come, but . . . It's okay mom."

No, no, it's not okay. I need to prioritize: what is more important? This has been on the calendar since the beginning of the school year and has been something that my son has been working towards. If I don't come, it could be something that he could remember forever. I don't want to be the mom who doesn't show up for her family.

The publishing world is crazy making  and I firmly believe in the importance of celebrating each and every success because they can be so few and far between.

But at what cost? If I don't go to the award gala, that doesn't negate all of the work I did for Girls Write Now. It doesn't take my name off the book as co-editor.

If I go to my son's orchestra performance tonight I will be demonstrating what I think of success: showing up for the moments in the lives of my loved ones. Although awards are great, that's not what success is. Success is being able to look at yourself in the mirror. Success is looking into the eyes of others and not flinching. Success is being true to yourself and your values. My value is to show up for my family. I'm not always perfect at it, but this is something I can control and where I am able to prioritize.

So thank you Girls Write Now and Meghan for understanding that I have to bow out of tonight. I couldn't be more proud of all of the work we did together, but I am needed and wanted more at the less glamorous middle school orchestra performance.

Am I a mother who is a writer, or a writer who is a mother?
Does anyone else struggle with prioritizing?


  1. Give your guy a hug from me and a high five from my little guy.
    I struggle with prioritizing daily. Since I'm homeschooling, I can be interrupted from my writing 24/7. I have to step away from my projects many times to answer the bazillion "why?" questions my kids can have so I can (hopefully) create little learning experiences and continue to encourage their curiosity as they grow.
    All the best!

    1. He was great Carrie! I am really glad that I saw him - it should have been a no-brainer, but . . .

  2. Just because we know what our priorities are, doesn't mean they are not hard-won, that we don't struggle with them, or at times even resent them. You made the perfect choice.

    1. Britton, your words are beautiful! So well said. Thank you!

  3. Oh prioritizing. As a band student myself I know what the hectic schedules and hours of work are like. I always forget to be a student first, I mean, I have forever to write, right? I'm only a (insert grade level) once right? (hopefully, that is). So I totally understand prioritizing, It makes me happy to see that you still have wholesome values. Not enough role models out there these days do.

    1. I made the right choice - I loved watching my son play! These are hard-won choices though, as Britton said! But it makes for a life that is all the more rich.

  4. Ever since my now 8th grader remarked that she does not remember me EVER being at home with her (I was out of work for nine long years, going back when she was four), I take these things with a grain of salt. When polled, all three of my children (18,16 and 14) replied "Duh. The writer should go get her award, of course." Just adding another side to the argument!

    1. Thanks Ms. Yingling - it's GOOD to see the other side. (And thank you so much for stopping by and commenting!) I have three kids too - (12, 10 and 7) and I stayed home with them until two years ago - now I teach several workshops a week after school and in weekends so of course now it seems like I was never home with them. I'm glad that I got to see my oldest in his finale though - I was very proud!

  5. Wow, thanks for the insightful post. I look forward to reading more from you.

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