Kris Woll interviews Amanda Magee, a contributing writer in This is Childhood, a book and journal about the first years of childhood:
What was your inspiration for writing this piece? Have you written other things about this age/stage?
My inspiration for this piece was the serendipitous shift in my daughter as the invitation to participate in This is Childhood arrived. Briar is my firstborn, which means that every milestone she hits is a first for me. From the first days of holding her in my arms to these days of waving as her bus drives away, it has been like watching an opal in the sun, constantly changing color and complexity in the gentlest pastels. I am fascinated by her, though this age has been the first that has given me pause as to what I write for public consumption. We talk, “Will you write about this, Mom?” I’ll respond, “Why, do you want me to?” She is my guide, my star, whether I hit publish or not.
What is it about age 8 you liked the most? The least?
Music, definitely music. She loses herself in songs, singing the lyrics under her breath long after the music has stopped without realizing it.
What do you wish you knew before you had an 8-year-old, or what advice do you wish you could tell your former self about mothering at that particular stage?
I have no regrets because there is no way we can anticipate or know what to do, the beauty of this journey is that it unfolds in each moment. Every time I’ve ever tried to plan ahead, to script what will happen, it’s gone another way. I look back on each memory tenderly, because even if I faltered, I was trying, always will be.
Besides your own piece, which other piece in the collection do you relate to the most? Why?
I can’t select a specific post—these wonderful authors are my friends and each write so differently. I think the thing that means the most to me from this experience of chronicling, as a group, these years, is the understanding that in the most disparate scenarios, there is a common thread of love and questioning. It’s a spiritual salve to suddenly know unequivocally, that you are not alone.
How do writing and mothering fit together for you? How has that fit over time?
I remember sitting at the computer late at night while I pumped milk, or early in the morning with B in my arms. My writing is the grown up version of bedtime stories, it is where my imagination runs and my heart rests. It restores me and inspires me.
What is your advice to other mother writers?
Trust yourself. Have fun. Listen to yourself.
What do you hope readers will take with them from your piece? From this collection?
Oh, I think all you can ever hope is that your writing sparks something, a sweet memory, an idea, or that whisper of knowledge that we are all just trying to love our kids.
Read Amanda’s “This is Eight” essay in This is Childhood, a book about the first years of childhood and motherhood.