I stood on the patio this morning breathing in the pre-dawn air while Toby ran pell-mell around the yard. A faint blush was just beginning to tint the tulle fog hugging the field beyond. One single robin chirped the arrival of a new day into the cloud-free sky.
Walt had just left for work. When I hugged and kissed him goodbye, I thanked him for making this day possible. The first day of school. His thirty-second. It would have been my twenty-third. Would have been.
I tucked that early-morning moment into the special memory place where all my other significant times live. Because when Walt's pickup left the driveway, I had the choice to do anything I wanted. I could even have gone back to bed.
I'm not at school, talking myself hoarse. I'm not having to tell my bladder to wait. I'm not wondering how an entire summer's worth of energy can be depleted in less than a day.
I'm also not getting belly-crushing hugs from last year's kids, or wearing a bright new first-day-of-school dress, or laughing with my friends. I didn't get to start the next best read-aloud book, or introduce a new group of kids to the joys of silent ball, or hear their summer stories.
Instead, I've been home all day long.
I played with Toby, solved a New York Times Saturday crossword with my last cup of coffee, and hung some laundry on the line. I was at my computer by 8:00. Lunch was fruit and cheese on the patio, with my latest O Magazine, more play time with Toby, and no concern about the time. My bladder is happy.
After way too many revisions and more fussing than a kindergarten mom sending her baby to school for the first time, I finally sent out my first query letter. Just one today. It's time to go to yoga now.
Tomorrow, on the second day of my new career, I'll send more.
I'm here. I'm really here. This is really and truly happening. I'm a full-time writer.
picture from Flickr