I loved spending a week at the Writing and Illustrating for Young Reader's Workshop! Friends from two years ago were happy to see me. I could start a conversation with anyone by saying, "So what do you like to write?" Classmates would stop me in the halls to tell me how much they liked my work. Every day I was having my mind blown away by new ideas on how to become a better writer. What could be better?
And then I came home.
One of my children met me at the door and gave me a hug, but the others were busy playing upstairs. After I'd crashed on the couch for a while and checked my e-mail, they still hadn't come down. Didn't they know I was here? Their soon-to-be-famous-author mother?
I found my four-year-old and said, "Eian! Give me a hug!"
He put on a suspicious frown. "Where are you going?"
"Nowhere. I just came back."
"Oh." He smiled and threw his arms around my neck, then ran off again.
Did he even notice that I'd been gone?
As the afternoon wore on, I got more attention from my children. "Mom, I'm bored!" "Mom, can I have a drink of water?" "Mom, Daniel's not being fair!" Not quite the kind of attention I had been getting from my writing friends. My ego sprang a slow, hissing leak. Around here, I was just plain Mom.
Deflated, I dragged myself back into the routine: wash dishes, move laundry, what's for dinner, no hitting, get your feet off the furniture. But I liked it. Here at home, I'm comfortable. Here at home, there's nothing to prove.
By this morning my head had returned to its normal size. When my eight-year-old crawled in bed with me, snuggled up, and shared all the wild adventures he'd had in his dreams last night, I couldn't imagine a better place to be.