It's been a big year for my mom. She turned 50, and shortly after that birthday, she finished her bachelor's degree. Everything about my mom makes me proud of her, and she doesn't get enough praise from her three children on a day-to-day basis. I am super close to her, so when my step-dad decided to throw her a surprise party, I pitched in with gusto.
What you have to understand about my mother is this: surprising her (or lying to her) is impossible. Her favorite phrase to tease her children with is "Mama knows." And it's true: she almost always does know. She knew when I lied about going on my first date. She knew when my brother was driving around town in the costume he'd borrowed from the drama department. She knows all.
But she didn't know about this. Somehow, my entire family kept the party a secret from her. We were a nervous wreck the weekend of the party: my husband, my siblings, and I all walking around on eggshells, trying to keep lying to her, while my step-dad hid in his office. The day of the party came, and we were sure the surprise was up, but she walked into the room and cried.
It was wonderful.
With all the party planning, I didn't get much writing done in the weeks leading up to the party, and even though I took my netbook up that weekend, I never even turned it on. And that's OK. Even though I try to put in a thousand words of writing every day, setting it aside for family didn't hurt. In fact, I was able to fully immerse myself in the joys of the weekend, since I wasn't worrying about how I would squeeze in my writing time.
And a funny thing happened. Once we came home and life settled down again, my creativity exploded. I've been writing like crazy every day since the party, and I love it.
So the lesson I learned? Some breaks aren't dangerous. Breaks for the people I love are always, always, worth it. And, sometimes, taking a break is necessary.
How do you recharge your creative batteries? What worries you about setting your personal projects aside?