A list of contradictions:
- I am incredibly grateful that my once-sick child is now healthy, and I am sometimes resentful that I worked so hard to become the mother she needed only to have her needs change entirely.
- I feel strong in my conviction that telling the story of my family’s trials and eventual happy ending is important, and I sometimes wonder if there’s anything interesting or unique enough in that story to sustain the interest of my future memoir readers.
- I know that the terrible things that happened to my daughter because a doctor didn’t read her chart are the fault of the doctor, and I sometimes look back and see every single time that I failed to push hard enough for better answers.
- I know that ending my career in order to care for my daughter has given me the immeasurable gift of being present every morning and afternoon throughout both daughters’ entire childhoods, and I sometimes resent what I know will be a painful and lonely transition when they leave home.
- I feel confident that our story’s core lesson — that childhood illness requires attention and respect be paid to the family supporting that child — is a crucial one for doctors and caregivers, and I sometimes question whether I, personally, am really worthy of attention and respect.
These are real conflicts in my head, competing with each other every single time that I sit here, tapping away at my computer to tell this story. Every time I sit down to write, I question all of those things in addition to whether or not this moment is the right time to be writing or whether anything will ever come of my writing or whether the enormous pile of magazine rejections is a message from the universe about my writing or whether what I’m writing is generous or self-indulgent. The arguments inside my head are loud and frustrating. Sometimes they are paralyzing.
So I’m leaving.
I’m leaving my home, I’m leaving my country, and I’m leaving the internet, entirely, for six days on a retreat in the Andes mountains. It will be another series of contradictions: too isolated and too communal; too beautiful and too distracting; too much time alone and too little time to myself. I won’t know what I need until I need it. It won’t be too hot, but it might be too cold. I will come back with my book manuscript complete, however complete is defined when I feel it.
I release myself from the outcome. I release myself into the contradictions and the mystery. Send me love.