I just sat in on Heather King and Vikki Reich‘s TypeA Conference hands-on session about free writing. Love. It was what I imagine therapy should be; all about raw emotion, Anne Lamott and how to write from the heart.  Before they encouraged us to write, they said something that really resonated with me: start with the feeling.

I started this during those five minutes but finished it in 15 minutes after the session. I think I’m a slow writer, but even saying that is to admit that I need to work on that whole comparison monster that every single speaker I’ve heard today has said to stop doing. So instead of comparing myself to anyone else, or thinking I “should” have written something funny or something better or something ‘fill-in-the-blank-here’ I’ll just share what I did write.

“Mommy, do they let you take food on the plane?”

She asked that as she stood in front of my desk, listening to me say for the upteenthousanth time that I was tired and didn’t feel well. She asked that after she told me that she wished I wouldn’t be gone for so long.

I was half listening, half trying to get some work done and half sneaking glances of Adam Levine on The Voice. I gave her a half-hearted ‘I don’t know, why?’ grumble without even looking up and heard her say ‘because if they do, I’ll make you a sandwich to take on the plane tomorrow. I make good sandwiches.’

I looked up and that’s when I really saw her; hair still wet and stringy from her shower, mismatched pjs that are just a tad too tight because she’s growing too damn fast and a sweet smile that stopped me in my tracks. She may as well have asked if I’d like a free mansion or a winning lottery ticket the way she cut to the core of what I needed but didn’t know how to ask for.

A sandwich; she wanted to make me a sandwich. Her ten-year-old-way of taking care of her mama, by making sure I would’t be hungry even though I would be alone. I wonder how she saw me that night; if it’s the same way she sees me day to day. I hope it’s not always tired, always rushing, always half paying attention.

I wonder if this is the type of mother she’ll grow to be someday; present, attentive, sweet and generous. I wonder if she knows that a sandwich isn’t always just a sandwich. I wonder if she knows that in that very moment everything else faded away; the feeling icky, the stress of deadlines, the glimpse of a hot guy on a TV screen, all of it now fuzzy and fading because she’s standing there, smiling, offering me love with extra cheese and Miracle Whip. I wonder if someday she’ll be so touched by something her own child says that she, too, starts to cry and then finally understands why I burst into tears and couldn’t let her go just because she offered to make me a sandwich.

Linking up with Heather for Just Write {103}.

Read here to learn more about Just Write. In a nutshell, it’s a free write about a recent or current experience without adding analysis, explanation, or clarification. (I took this entire paragraph from Erin Margolin. Read her Just Write piece, titled ‘A School Morning’, here).