Paper Airplanes

By: Tanya Ward Goodman

My son has been making paper airplanes.  Not one or two paper airplanes, but a whole fleet of paper airplanes.  He sits at the little desk in our kitchen with the I-Pod cranked up and folds paper.  Sometimes he listens to the soundtrack to “Mary Poppins,” sometimes, it’s Guns and Roses and other times, Los Lobos or Cake.  He hums or sings under his breath and folds sheet after sheet of paper.

My son is lucky that both of his parents are writers.  We have a lot of drafts.  Each airplane is a page of my memoir, a revised essay or a section of his father’s pilot.  Sure, the network passed, the publishers keep saying no, but thanks to my son, our ideas can really fly.

Making paper airplanes is something that makes my boy happy.  He likes the repetition.  He likes throwing a ball and catching it, too.  He’ll sometimes head out in the yard with his mitt and catch 200 balls.  This kind of repetition makes him calmer.  It seems to iron out the frustrated creases in his brow.  He knows what he needs and that makes me proud.

It also makes me think about what I need.  I won’t lie, I’ve been in a pretty deep funk of late.  It’s hard to make my days fly as straight as my boy’s airplanes.  I’m distracted and disorganized and every day slips into the next leaving me feel as though I’ve done nothing of interest or of use.  I start and stop a dozen projects and finish none.  It’s starting to be a real downer.

So, I’m making a list of things I like to do.  It seems like a no-brainer.  Turns out, that for me, it’s not.

I’m posting the list on the fridge and in my office and anywhere else I can think of to put it.  That way, when I’m ambling into the kitchen for another handful of chocolate chips, I’ll be reminded that really, I’d rather take a walk (or read a book or write a story or dig in the garden or make a batch of muffins or write a letter or kick up into a handstand…)

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