This is How We Do It

Confessions of a mama who writes and act and sings and doesn’t always respect the bedtime.

Big week for projects! In addition to the particularly heavy year-end load at the DayJob, this week was the Seattle Premier of a short film I worked on last year, as well as my monthly poetry series, where I was scheduled to add a set of Christmas songs to my usual hosting duties.

And, because the husband is currently work-shopping a new musical and running really late hours, I’m on full-time mama-duty in the evenings with a super fun, bouncing, singing, always talking, frequently hyper-sensitive ball of 4-year old energy.

Which means I kept LittleBird out late for two nights in a row (so far) this week. Grabbed her in two flurries of flying clothes changes from her daycare. Improvised two dinners—one from snacks long-hidden in my work bag and the other from grown-up menu items. Bodily hauled the impossible heft of a sleeping 4 yr old out of the backseat of the mini on two very dark cold nights (no mean feat for 6 months pregnant, what with the bending and twisting and heaving). Blew off two bedtimes by hours.

I laid pretty lofty expectations on her, too. I asked her to chill for a couple of longish car rides. I asked her to be patient about dinner. I asked her to interact politely with adults and restaurant staff (she’s awesome at that). I asked her to be decently quiet and non-disruptive (she’s as skilled as any 4-yr old can be…). I asked her to entertain herself safely and in plain view while I socialized with adults.

I let her wear a fancy dress. And watch 5 movies (Seattle local indie shorts). And listen to poetry and music. And dance around and draw and be a general monkey in her designated spaces. And talk into a microphone. And bury herself in a pile of not-even-questionably clean leaves around the sidewalk trees on a Capitol Hill sidewalk. And drink a gigantic cup of hot chocolate with a mountain of whip-cream at the precise time she is normally brushing her teeth (and learn the related word, which she repeated with relish, “DEC-a-dence!”).

And I let her see me in my non-mama shoes, as an actress and poet and singer. And she saw the writer and star of our short film holding court in the lobby with friends while she nursed and soothed her 4-month old baby, because it was important and not even a question that they should both be there. And LittleBird sat on her Grandma’s lap to sway to a guitar and saw her making notes and reading poems and sharing art with her colleagues who have been good friends for many decades.


With the Writer/Star and Director of our short film, INFESTED at Northwest Film Forum. Of course, seconds before the camera was pointed, LittleBird was all smiles and sunshine and spinning chairs (see “4 yrs old, highly mutable emotions and accompanying display.”)

And I hope she saw it all as normal, as how we do this.

Because, although she certainly didn’t know, LittleBird spent these busy nights taking more little dancing steps into the family tradition in which I was raised, and for which I am more grateful each year, where you plan and scheme and dream to make things happen, where you get places early and set-things up and improvise like hell when it falls apart and thank people profusely when it turns out alright. A family tradition of not-so-infrequent late nights filled with the special occasions that simply must happen where there are good art and words to share, when you just can’t stop talking with interesting people who share your belief that this is important.

So that’s it. I’m not particularly penitent, though we’re both tired and will certainly spend tonight in hibernation. But I think it balances out.

This is, after all, how we do it.


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