Sometimes, I open up my laptop and my fingers cannot type as fast as my brain is spitting words out. And sometimes, the day after my column is due (thankfully I have a very understanding editor), I stare for hours at a blank screen.
Sometimes, I write three sentences and delete them just to write them again. And sometimes, I cringe as I hit “send” on a column that “will have to do” because I ran out of time or words.
Many times I have thought “maybe this is it.” It has been a great ride of writing a column but I am just not sure that I can do it anymore. I mean, I constantly write about being a full-time working wife and mother but, on top of that I also have to make time to write a weekly column — and I usually leave that part out.
When I was almost to the point of calling it quits, I got an instant message from a former teacher of mine. Not just any former teacher, but THE former teacher who saw something inside of me many years ago and challenged me to write.
It was an awkward time — you know those grueling early teen years, and all I wanted to do was fit in with the cool kids. And, no offense to all of my fellow writing buddies, but I didn’t see those “popular” kids on the writing team.
However, something inside of me ached to try it. After all, my third grade teacher (rest in peace, Mr. Brinkman) had us do writing portfolios that I absolutely loved and still have to this day, and my journal at home was full of emotions and feelings. Maybe, just maybe, it was time to share them.
So, with no idea what to expect, I joined the writing team. We traveled to different Power of the Pen competitions, and I found myself believing in what I could produce. It was what I will call “pressure writing.” I cannot remember if it was 30 or 45 minutes but they gave you a topic and you wrote.
Now, this was before laptops and iPads, and most importantly, spell check. There was no cut and paste to move paragraphs around, and a red line didn’t magically appear when you misspelled something. It was pencil, paper and an eraser – and doing the best you could do with very little time.
And I loved it!
My eighth-grade year, I did what no one from my school had ever done, I made it to the State writing tournament. I didn’t make the top 10 — or even the top 20 at state. But, with the guidance of this teacher, Mrs. Flynn, I actually made it to state.
So, as I sat there last week staring at a blank screen again — “writer’s block” is what they call it — and received a message from this impactful lady, I knew I needed to keep writing. That this, it is my passion. Because as a full-time working mom and wife, “me” is last on the list. But this weekly column gives me a chance to truly be me.
And it is not just that amazing teacher, it is all of you. One second my mom will call saying she doesn’t want me to be over-stressed writing weekly (because that’s what us moms do — worry about our babes). And the next call she tells me she ran into so-and-so who absolutely loves my columns and reads them weekly.
That right there is the thing that keeps me going. The random stops out at the store, the people I haven’t seen in ages who tell me they love reading my columns, the text messages from old coworkers, the instant messages from friends, the distant acquaintances who I would never guess would even consider reading my columns who can discuss word for word one of my stories, that is what drives me week after week to continue.
So, in this season of Thanksgiving, I want to express my complete gratitude to all of you who read my column — to everyone who makes a point to tell me they don’t miss a week, and to those especially close to me who read my rough draft week after week and encourage me. I couldn’t do it without all of you.
Some weeks, between my husband, babies, household and work, the writing of this weekly column stresses me out beyond all words. And yet, through prayers and praise from you all (along with The Lima News keeping me), I happily continue on.
So, thank you, and I cannot say it enough, for allowing and encouraging me to share this wonderfully exhausting parenting journey with all of you.
From my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.