Pretty Peacock! Big Book! by Author Bethany Hegedus
It’s hard to remember as a working mom to stop and take delight: to find joy in the spilled milk, the yelling of “no!”, the tugging of hair, and the seemingly endless battles over putting on shoes and then taking them off.
It’s even harder when you are a mom who works from home. All I see all day long are things undone. Dishes that need put in the dishwasher and then emptied,—this one is for other moms. My husband is our dish gent, corralling the dirty plates and then roping them into the metallic dishwasher—laundry that needs folded, emails that need answered, contracts that need signed, toys that need put away, student work that needs responded to, and diapers that need changed.
I believe in joy. In taking delight. It’s just that I can’t add one more thing to my to-do list. If I do, I might topple over like the growing stack of books that get handed to me one at a time. “Read,” my drill instructor son says. Then he turns around so I can pick him up under the arms and put him in my lap. Then and there I let go of all that is undone. Of all that is on the to-do lists, even including the books I am working on. More energy. Less to do. More delight.
The delight is there, when I stop and let go. It is in the reading. In the turning of the page. In the letting go of anything and everything that would and could take me away from my boy.
And then there are the late-night gifts. An hour of two in the morning screaming that leads to my son finally quieting, but not wanting to be held, while I lay on the floor of his room, trying to cajole him to snuggling beside me. He brings me book after book, handing them over like gifts. I don’t read. It’s too dark. It’s too late. But I take each book from his hand and say, “thank you.”
And the gratitude I discover is met with the same joy and surprise as his, when he strings an adjective with a noun—“Pretty peacock! Big book!”—reminding me that this busy working mom life is filled with moments of deep delight.
According to Bethany, why small moments matter: a Simple ah-ha's, breaths in, breaths released, moments spent engaged deeply in our work and with our loved ones. A life well lived is is spent moment to moment. It's the moment that matters.
Bio: BETHANY HEGEDUS’ books include the award-winning Grandfather Gandhi and the newly released Be the Change: A Grandfather Gandhi Story, both co-written with Arun Gandhi, grandson to the Mahatma and illustrated by Evan Turk. The Grandfather Gandhi books join Bethany’s novels Truth with a Capital T and Between us Baxters in gracefully handling race, class and diversity issues.
A graduate of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Children & Young Adults, Bethany is prior editor of the literary journal Hunger Mountain. Bethany is the Owner and Creative Director of The Writing Barn, a writing retreat, workshop and event space in Austin, Texas.
She has sat on panels with Ilyasha Shabazz, Malcolm X’s daughter, and Arun Gandhi, grandson to the Mahatma. A former educator, Bethany is an in-demand presenter and she speaks and teaches across the country.
Brave Tutu Note: Although Bethany and I both live in Austin, we really kicked off our friendship as presenters in Midland, Texas at their at the Permian Basin Writers Workshop. After the workshop, and after hearing her presentation on Living a Literary Life, I received a special invitation to try out her new class Write. Submit. Support. Class (WSS) at The Writing Barn in Austin, TX.(I dedicated articles: Sign Holders and "Yes" "No" "Maybe" to Bethany and that class!) I was honored and I knew the mentorship she was offering was priceless. However, I wasn’t sure if I could afford the class. Turns out, I couldn’t have afforded not to take that leap. My last year with Bethany has revolutionized the way I see progress on this publishing path, set goals and, ultimately, approach writing. In the midst of mentoring writers, speaking and presenting across the country monthly, owning and running The Writing Barn, pouring into her friends, and raising a toddler—she did NOT hesitate when I asked if she wanted to celebrate Brave Tutu’s birthday with a guest post. Bethany is a mentor, a friend and true family in this literary journey.