This Book Writing Thing is Haaaaaarrrrrdddd!

Can I tell you how much I do not like 5:00 a.m.?

I haven’t been up this early–or let’s be real, stayed up this late–since college. Which has been a minute. Even with all four of my babies, they at least went back to sleep for a few hours. And now I jump roll out of bed before the butt crack of dawn and I don’t like it.

But I have to do this because I am writing my second book. My sophomore effort. My #2. And 5:00 a.m. is the only time that I ever have a moment to think a thought all the way through to fruition. This is kinda important if you call yourself a writer.

And I am a writer. I accidentally wrote my first book called My Pink Champagne Life a few years ago. I didn’t start out to write a book; I had just been through a lot of changes and truly writing was my therapy. There were no expectations; no one even knew I was writing a book except my husband. And there were no deadlines. I was free to let my creative process go where it may. Which is why I wrote most of the book in late 2011-early 2012 and it didn’t come out until February of this year.

I’m not great with deadlines.

Now I have both expectations and deadlines and I’m a little bit nervous. Not to mention I still don’t really know what I’m doing. My plate is so much more full now that I’m on my next effort and I get a little scared. Since I write about my traveling circus family, I am opening up the door to our complete crazy for the whole world to view, judge, peer into. It’s a bit disconcerting if I think about it too long.

And this time around I’m writing about seriously hard and life-changing things. Life-shattering things. I don’t know about you other writers out there but for me it’s a bit like living through it all again when I write about the last two years of our story. I’m using words like PTSD and traumatic brain injury and financial hardships and four kids and baby spit up and caregiving, you know, real sexy topics.

But I believe in telling the truth. And the truth is our story isn’t always rainbows and butterflies like I would like it to be. My hope is that maybe my truth will help someone else in the midst of a truth they didn’t want any part of. That maybe our story and our crazy and our suffering followed by absolute redemption will give hope to someone who is buried in a dark corner and believes they are all alone.

Have I mentioned how much I hate 5:00 a.m.? For the foreseeable future this is my waking time. But I am trying to appreciate the benefits this provides me. I am watching sunrises that are gorgeous beyond belief. I get to hear and feel and breathe in the silence while everyone else is sleeping peacefully. There is an openness to my spirit at this time of the morning, before the day has corrupted my thoughts or pushed me down or some days, run me over. I am more alive, more vibrant, more me during my quiet time than any other part of the day.

It’s when I’m Meredith.

Not caregiver or mama or employee or chauffeur or wife or maid or any of the other hats that I wear. I love my hats. But sometimes it feels good to just be me.

I am a writer. Of books and thoughts and talks and life. It’s difficult sometimes, but it’s exactly where I am supposed to be.

(Photo credit Meredith Shafer 2015) Copyright Meredith Shafer 201

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Top 10 Reasons It’s Awesome Being an Older Parent

1. Your memory is not that great anymore but that’s okay. It just means you forget nearly as soon as it happens when your kid floods the bathroom, or finger paints all over the house.

2. Remember the jobs you had in your early 20s? Being a sandwich artist, part-time musician/student, and playing piano for a boys’ choir were some of the job highlights of my early 20s. I’m just sayin’.
3. What you lack in energy you make up for in wisdom. Now instead of jumping up to go get the baby from his bed when he’s crying, I just send the oldest kid to do it.
4. No one mistakes you for the babysitter.
5. You know how to enjoy things. You don’t rush around anymore, mostly because you can’t.

6. You have had a professional life, so you know getting people to do what you want is nearly impossible. This is very helpful with children.

7. You’ve paid for the mistakes you made in your 20s that were reflected on your credit score. It’s possible you may even own a home now.
8. All of the money you blew on shoes and alcohol and other luxury items for yourself now goes to a good cause: your kids.
9. You are more patient than you were in your 20s and 30s. This is because you are more tired.

10. Your children can serve as your IT people. Let’s face it, they already know more about technology than you ever will.
Being an older parent is the best gift I’ve ever given myself. It doesn’t matter that I squandered part of my youth; my kids are showing me every day what it’s like to be young at heart. How to take a moment. How to enjoy the present.
I wouldn’t trade it for all the money in the world. This is exactly where I need to be.



Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015

10 Ways You Know You’re an Older Parent

1. You join your kids for a dance party in the living room and your bones ache the next day.

2. You don’t see anything wrong with eating dinner at 4:30 and you justify it because you have little kids who go to bed early.

3. When you go to your preschool age kid’s class party you wonder why so many high schoolers have babies these days.

4. Your kids are impressed that you know answers to “olden times” Jeopardy questions about the ’80s. The 1980’s.

5. You’re exhausted. All. The. Time.

6. You go through the whole list of kid and dog names before you call the right kid. Then you forget why you were calling them in the first place.

7. Kids you once babysat for have kids older than yours.

8. You realize when your mom was your age you were applying to colleges.

9. Your high school friends are posting pics on Facebook of their kids’ graduations and their grandkids.

10. You’re trying to stay out of reading glasses while you still have one in diapers. 

It ain’t easy but I’m blessed! Tomorrow I’ll be posting my Top 10 Reasons it’s Awesome Being an Older Parent. If I remember…

Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015