Honey, I’m Sorry I Killed Your Aquasaurs (and other short essays on the parenting life)

It is with great pride that I’m announcing that I’ve dipped my toes into the indie publishing arena. So, I’ve been asked why. Why would an author under contract with two FINE publishers—one for cookbooks and one for fiction—choose to publish independently? Well, that answer is probably more simple than you think.

I wrote this newspaper column for years and kept the columns, of course, not just because I wrote them—but I also because I LOVED writing them. Not only are they juicy memories captured about parenting my girls when they were small children, but they are full of inspiration and laughs for parents—who happen to be some of my favorite people. What a waste to let them sit in a drawer.

From a business perspective, it is unwise to just let them sit there. For years. Oh sure, I’ve sold several of them to parenting magazines from time to time. One of the ways in which a freelancer earns a living is by keeping rights and reselling articles and maybe making books from them. And a few years ago my agent tried to sell a group of my food essays and it became clear that even with my cookbooks (one a regional best seller) and magazine articles I still didn’t have the “platform” to sell a book of essays to a publisher.

So what is a writer to do? These days we’ve so many opportunities with indie publishing. So if you think there’s an audience out there for your work, now you can go directly to your readers.

It took months of compiling and gathering. Fortunately, these essays had already been edited so I didn’t have to find an editor–which I highly recommend for anybody going the indie route. 

Truthfully, this book might not be for everyone. But for those readers who have kids and not much time to read, it’s perfect because the essays are short and oh, so heartfelt.

 

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S P A C E

I’ve been thinking about space.

You know when you’re in a Yoga class and there’s this few minutes of space and time when the workout part is done and you getting ready to relax? For me, there’s this whole clearing of the mind process that I can find only during this moment. Mind space. So last night I found myself overwhelmed by gratitude for the space I found myself in.

Maybe you need to be a parent to understand—but just getting to a night Yoga class has been beyond me for years. Along with our regular evening rituals—homework, supper, bath, bed, my daughters’ evening activities eat up my time. When I found out about this class, I went through the calendar in my brain and dismissed the idea because Tess has cello lessons at the same time as the class.

I mentioned it to my husband over coffee one morning. “A friend said that I need to do more Yoga, less running. I think they may be right but I can’t get to a class.”  My husband raised his hand, “Hello. I can take Tess.”

Space.

Much of our family life seems to be about space, too. Whether it’s negotiating the space in the house—where to place his big chair in the living room, who gets which bedroom—or who gets what time to go to the gym or go for a walk and so on. The older our children get, the more intense these negotiations become. The bathroom is at the center of the negotiations much of the time. Yes, we only have one full bathroom. (We do have a half bath, but, of course, it doesn’t have the shower…)

So we’ve decided to build another bathroom into our house—that will be an interesting space-building proposition.

This life balance thing is a tricky business.  I’m reminded of something the Yoga master Rodney Yee says.  I’m paraphrasing. But in one of his videos, getting ready for Tree Pose, he says “It’s okay if you sway. Trees sway. Balance is a response.” Just when you think you’ve found it, the center of it moves and you need to readjust.

Has that been your experience?

Five things I thought about during my morning run:

1. Cloud watch: When I first started running the sky was mostly one big
gray blanket of clouds. The only clear blue sky was around the
mountains. Toward the end of my run, the sun is really fighting to come
out.
2. Going to Staunton this morning for Emma's acting class.
3. She was invited to watch movies at a friend's house last night. We had
to pick her up at 10:30. Eric and I struggled to stay awake. She came
home full of energy, of course.
4. We are daydreaming about this central air conditioning. We hope it
will be completely installed by midweek.
5. My new blog. I'd love some comments on the blog. http://www.molliecoxbryan.com/kitchenqueenoffishpotroad I also have fan page for it–check
your in box for an invite.

Five things I thought about during my morning run:

1. So I woke up this morning to Eric's big arms wrapped around me. "Good
morning and happy anniversary."
2. Nineteen years of marriage is a long time–but it doesn't seem that
long, really.
3. We were together a long time before we had children. I look back and
think a couple of things. "What did we do with ourselves, with all that
free time?" Then, I remember. We went to concerts, bookstores,
restaurants, movies, plays, the opera, ballets, and oh yeah we went to
Ireland. I took Yoga and poetry classes. Eric took German and Latin
classes. Those days are gone–probably at least until the kids leave or I
get a full time job of hit it big with one of my books.
4. Sounds cliche, really, but Eric is my best friend.
5. Still, there have been times when it's been a challenge–to say the
least. But at the core of it all there is a deep and abiding bond
between us.

Five things I thought about during my morning run:

1. Tess is sick–coughing and hacking. Oye. Eric is finally back to work
and now I have her home with me.
2. The sky is blue, but there's a haze around the mountains. It will be a
humid day.
3. We are getting central air next week. Exhale.
4. Emma is loving her acting class so much that she doesn't even want to
miss it to go to King's Dominion with Signature Singers. Too bad. We
paid and she is going, will sing her heart out, and will have a good
time, damn it.
5. It's taken me 11 years to feel at home here. I've been longing for my
DC days far too long. I still miss it and the people there. It's really
funny which people have stayed in touch with me. Some I never would
have guessed. And I miss the restaurants, food, culture…and the
opportunities. But I am grateful that I've spent this time at home with
my daughters. What ever happens, we will always have that. And I'll
never regret it.

Five things I thought about during my morning run:

1. @stevewhitaker has to be one of the funniest people I've ever met in
my life. If you aren't following him on Twitter, you should. Yesterday,
at lunch w/Eric, he asked me why I was looking off into space and
grinning. So I told him about one of Steve's posts.( I'm not sure, but I
think Eric growled….) But in any case, Steve should think about
comedy. Seriously.
2. YES, I am running this morning, with minor pain.
3. So glad I have friend who can help me see the humor in my situation
and also that have expressed their concerns. For the last few years,
right before my birthday, another little health situation comes up.
Paying attention is hard with active children and husband, house, and
career. But we all must.
4. My article for Grit is coming along. Hope to get the first draft
finished this morning.
5. Nice note from Jen this morning about Maggie Rae's Scrapbooks.
(Thanks for reading it, Jen.) My agent is chomping at the bit for it.
She's very excited about the possibilities. I'm hoping there's a reason,
like she knows just the right editor who is looking for this kind of
book. (Eternal optimist, I am.) So I'm going through it one more time
and sending it off to her.

Five things I thought about during my morning run:

1. Spring rain.
2. Tink has all of a sudden noticed earth worms. She doesn't want to eat
them—just torture them. This is a side to my dog I've never seen
before.
3. Emma has gotten very squeamish about earth worms. She never used to
be this way. Puberty = squeamish?
4. It would be a great rain to run in, but I promised myself no running
today. Yoga today. Yesterday, I ran 3 miles, with just a little hip pain
toward the end of my run. Later, Eric asked if I wanted to go for a
walk with him and the girls. I did–but my hip started to bother me not
far into the walk. So I went home. One step forward…
5. My new blog http://www.molliecoxbryan.com/kitchenqueenoffishpotroad/

Five things I thought about during my morning run:

1. Half a run is better than no run. Hip started hurting, just a bit, so
I walked the rest of the way.
2. Those potatoes were very good. I was scraping the pan of all the
crusty bits last night and Eric was standing next to me. I looked at
the pan and looked at him–I was thinking of just plunging in and eating
all of that stuff. And Eric read my mind. "Don't do it," he said. "Just
don't do it." 😉
3. The house still smells of supper this morning.
4. So, Tess has been staying after school for math tutoring and a bus
brings her home. It was late last night and so I started making calls.
And I stood out in front of the house for a long time waiting on her.
The bus went flying by my house as I stood there waving. So I ran after
it. It stopped in the middle of the block–until I got closer and then
it went down to the end of the block (with me running behind it) and
MADE A U-TURN. Finally, she opens the bus door and I said "MY CHILD IS
IN THERE." "Well, I know. I was turning around…" Tess said the driver
wouldn't listen to her when she said to stop. She also said several of
the kids wondered if that crazy woman running down the street was her
mother. 😉 I probably scared the driver half to death. She won't forget
me. I'll be making some calls this morning.
5. Mama bear undone. MESS with my kids…mess WITH ME.

Five things I thought about during my morning run:

1. Yes. I ran. I know what I said–that I wouldn't run every day. But I
won't be running tomorrow because I have early morning appointments–one
is a dr. appt., the other is a book signing. Someone from
Charlottesville is coming across the mountain for me to sign her books.
So, I'll be at Starbucks in Waynesboro tomorrow at 10–if anybody else
needs their books signed.
2. I took my daughters to get their pictures taken at the local Olan
Mills. They had this special running–which of course had all kinds of
small print and will end up costing me more money than the "special."
But the pictures are amazing. Especially Emma's photos. She's my kid–so
I think she is beautiful. Her sister is, too, and is photogenic, as
well. But something happens when Emma gets in front of the camera. It's
startling to me.
3. Up and down all night. I had forgotten to take my Benedryl. My dr.
told me to take children's Benedryl to help me sleep and it works–but
only if you REMEMBER to take it.

4. So many things are popping out of the ground suddenly. Spring is my
favorite season. I've written a poem about Spring. If I can find it,
I'll share it.

5. Can't wait to meet with the writing students at Waynesboro High
School.

Here is the poem:

Spring

Spring is a woman

who thaws slowly, leaving patches

of snow behind, teasing

with hints of green

and buds that promise

of daffodils, dandelions,

tulips, cherry blossoms—

beauty yet to come.

Her name is Oya. Her rivers

and streams rush, roar, rise,

and flow over rocks, sand, mud,

to kiss all life with wetness,

cool and crisp, driven

from the winter snow.

She gurgles with giggles.

Her names is Gaia. Smell her

rich, luscious soil. Feel the

contractions from her life-giving

core while she gives birth

to the music of robins,

Sparrows, and cardinals.

She labors, toils and pushes.

She dances, giggles, and flirts.

She is raw beauty.

Her name is Woman.

Five things I thoought about during my morning run:

1. Yes. I ran. I know what I said–that I wouldn't run every day. But I
won't be running tomorrow because I have early morning appointments–one
is a dr. appt., the other is a book signing. Someone from
Charlottesville is coming across the mountain for me to sign her books.
So, I'll be at Starbucks in Waynesboro tomorrow at 10–if anybody else
needs their books signed.
2. I took my daughters to get their pictures taken at the local Olan
Mills. They had this special running–which of course had all kinds of
small print and will end up costing me more money than the "special."
But the pictures are amazing. Especially Emma's photos. She's my kid–so
I think she is beautiful. Her sister is, too, and is photogenic, as
well. But something happens when Emma gets in front of the camera. It's
startling to me.
3. Up and down all night. I had forgotten to take my Benedryl. My dr.
told me to take children's Benedryl to help me sleep and it works–but
only if you REMEMBER to take it.

4. So many things are popping out of the ground suddenly. Spring is my
favorite season. I've written a poem about Spring. If I can find it,
I'll share it.

5. Can't wait to meet with the writing students at Waynesboro High
School.

Here is the poem:

Spring

Spring is a woman

who thaws slowly, leaving patches

of snow behind, teasing

with hints of green

and bus the promise

of daffodils, dandelions,

tulips, cherry blossoms—

beauty yet to come.

Her name is Oya. Her rivers

and streams rush, roar, rise,

and flow over rocks, sand, mud,

to kiss all life with wetness,

cool and crisp, driven

from the winter snow.

She gurgles with giggles.

Her names is Gaia. Smell her

rich, luscious soil. Feel the

contractions from her life-giving

core while she gives birth

to the music of robins,

Sparrows, and cardinals.

She labors, toils and pushes.

She dances, giggles, and flirts.

She is raw beauty.

Her name is Woman.