Editor’s Note: I initially wrote this essay as a sample for a potential freelance writing job in Spring 2016. I wasn’t chosen for the position and I saved the essay to submit elsewhere. However, it’s been almost a year and as Sesame is preparing to turn 5 in exactly 8 days and requested a Cat in the Hat birthday party, I figured now is a fitting time to share this post with my audience. (This post contains affiliate links)
It’s summer 2014 and my two-year old son is looking up at me with pleading eyes while holding Dr. Seuss’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go. I’m not sure why he keeps asking me to read this book. We never make it through the whole thing, which isn’t surprising because hello, he’s only two and this is a pretty long book. But, him being two is also why I am not going to argue with him about trying to read this book right now. If he wants to only make it through the first few pages yet again, so be it.
I cuddle with him on the couch and start reading. As I near the part where he usually begins to squirm, I look down and he is still staring intently. I ask him if he wants me to keep reading and he vigorously nods his head. I keep reading. Suddenly the words I’m reading start making me squirm, it feels like they were meant just for me.
Except when you don’t.
Because sometimes you wont.
I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you.
You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You’ll be left in a Lurch.
You’ll come down from
the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a Slump. And when you’re
in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.
I find myself slowing down as I read the passage and let every single word sink in… not for him… no this is definitely not for him. It’s for me.
The last few months had been rough to say the least. I’d had a difficult spring semester teaching and soon after classes ended dealt with two deaths in a matter of months. This was also the year that I should’ve graduated….
But that was before I decided to have a baby and get married. Before I decided to spend more time soaking in every single moment of motherhood, and while I do not regret this choice, it is still hard to see my classmates finishing up and heading on the job market
You can get so confused that
you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across
weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place. The Waiting Place…
… for people just waiting.
It’s hard to admit that I have no idea when I’ll actually finish. I know I’ll finish I just don’t know when and people keep asking me. Not only do I not know when, I also don’t know what I’ll do afterwards. I glance down and he’s still engrossed in the book. Waiting for me to keep reading… to finally move past the waiting place.
That’s not for you!
Somehow you’ll escape all
That waiting and staying
I keep reading. Finally, finishing the story with him for the first time. I put him down for a nap and then I head to the living room with the book under my arm. I read it again. I let it all sink in and then I realize that my two-year-old son’s newfound Dr. Seuss obsession just helped me not only admit that I’m in a slump, but it also reminded me that I am not a quitter, so no I wont stay in this place.
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ /45 percent guaranteed.)
It’s almost two years later and even though I still haven’t finished my doctorate degree, I haven’t given up. I am still chugging along pulling myself out of all the waiting places. I’m moving mountains in regards to parenting and social justice. And we are still reading Oh, The Places You’ll Go and sometimes it’s even my suggestion.
Has your little one ever gotten you through a rough patch? How?