The Messy Middle

I only know one way to write. Real and raw. I write about my daughters and our beautiful life that isn’t always beautiful. I write about my aging mother and her gray hair and how sometimes I can’t recognize the person she used to be. I write about a classroom that doesn’t always feel like home and teaching that doesn’t always shine. That’s me, real and raw on the page. 

So I guess when your truth becomes hard and your stories are so raw they hurt, you might stop writing them down. You might stop writing and doing other things you love. You might try to pause your own story.

It is the eve of Easter as I sit typing this. It is Holy Saturday, the day of in-between. The middle of the story.

I sit with my feet propped up in the recliner listening as the girls play in the background. This is a typical evening for the three of us. Them, happy and playful. Me, weary but grateful. I know we’re in the middle of our story. I didn’t want to write about the middle. I was waiting to write the happy ending.

I take my eyes off the screen to look at Maddie and Katie. They’re oblivious to me typing but I’m acutely aware of their presence because they are my beginning, my middle, my everything.

I haven’t written in a long time; we’ve just been living in the middle. But I think this part of our story needs to be told too…the part on the way to the happy ending.

13 thoughts on “The Messy Middle

  1. Selfie by Will Storr is a book about the various ‘selfs’ we have in our lives. Facts such as an infant’s brain increases by more than 30 percent in the first 15 months of life. It isn’t growing more neurons. It is growing new synapses between the cells. By age two, the baby will grow a hundred trillion synapses. Babies hear tones in foreign languages their parents are deaf to. They experience synaethesia–an eerie blending of the sense to taste colors. Sadly, on reaching puberty ‘neural pruning’ starts. 100,000 brain cells per second die. The brain, influenced by the environment, prunes itself to becomes specialized–to create a personality. The middle years of our stories are possibly the best.

  2. I’ve missed your writing, Dana, and the reflective lens you bring to your world and remind me to bring to mine. So glad to see you back! (PS I’m now finding myself humming the song, “Stuck in the Middle with You.”)

  3. So heartfelt, honest and just…raw! As you concluded, it’s not possible to “pause your own story”. Some may refuse to look or become oblivious to it, but your ability to reflect so wisely gives all parts of your story added value.

  4. We are “in the middle” and will be for a while. I love how you drew us into your middle, and I love how you closed with your observation about your children being the “all” of it. Thank you for sharing this today. And please, keep it coming. I look forward to reading more from you.

  5. Dana, so happy to see you writing … I haven’t written in some time either, but with this pause in life, I decided to peek to see who was writing SOL stories. I just realized how much I miss your words and stories — the raw, honest, nitty-gritty, happy, thankful, loving stories in between!!

  6. If we wait for everything to be cleaned up and done, we’ll never write. I think the messy middle is where the heart is. Loved your piece here! Please, share your middle.

  7. So, so happy to see you here. I’ve always adored your writing style and your voice. So much emotion shining through the words you write and the words you leave for the reader to fill in. The middle is a fine place to write from.

  8. Wow! In addition to being so well-crafted, this hit the core of how it feels right now. Guess we need to remember the middle is usually where the action is, where the learning begins and where the main character finds herself. Thanks, Dana.

  9. I was thrilled to see your writing last night. I mentioned to you that I was intrigued by “the middle” – what you exemplified in your piece is that the middle is such a major part – it’s the big part! Writing about it helps us not to miss it. Thanks for making a comeback!!

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