Just a Desk
He looked like a deer in the headlights. A drill in one hand, a level in the other. I couldn’t blame him. I’d probably respond the same way if he’d gone from laughter to legit tears in 2.5 seconds.
Like I’d just done.
We’d spent the last few hours putting together a floating desk in our bedroom. Nothing super fancy, just a couple of shelf brackets and a wooden board. It’ll take thirty minutes tops, I said with what I’m sure was a brimming-with-confidence smirk. This will be easy.
Famous last words.
I failed to account for the inevitable offers of “help” from a certain three-year-old. If you’re not familiar with this particular kind of help, just factor in an extra 45-60 minutes to your original time estimate. This is to account for the time you’ll spend saying things like, “Don’t put those screws in your mouth!” “Put DOWN the drill!” “WHY are you randomly hammering the wall??” Add to that some stubborn stripped screws and you’ve got yourself a job that went from the length of an episode of The Office to the length of The Fellowship of the Rings.
But now it was done. I arranged my things on the desk, stepped back in triumph, and—
I swiped at my tears, embarrassed. What’s wrong with me? It’s just a desk.
More than Just a Desk
I began working from home a few years ago. It’s a great arrangement that allows me to do something I love (write stories, articles, and advance the mission of GSO Pregnancy Care Center) while continuing to do the thing I love more (being a full-time mom to my two children). On paper, the arrangement is perfect.
In reality, it’s been…tricky.
My work space was our kitchen table. And the couch. And the living room floor. And the front seat of my car. And basically anywhere I could find a flat surface plus stolen moments to hear myself think and then transfer those thoughts into discernible work.
My work hours? Nap time. Night time. And perhaps random time when children are happily playing on their own. (Another way of saying “hardly ever.”)
To be honest, working and writing from home with two small children often seemed impossible. It was a constant game of moving my computers and work things back and forth between meals, snack times, and other table activities. On the occasions when I couldn’t move my things quickly enough, I was left with sticky keyboards, crumpled writing notes, and the sound of mischievous footsteps fleeing the scene of the crime, a computer cord dragging behind them.
And every time I killed myself trying to get work done while regular life swirled around me, it was as if a small, irritating voice whispered again and again in my ear: Your work doesn’t matter.
The Dignity We All Need
As I stared at my small, simple desk, the truth dawned on me. This space is mine. This space is meant for my work. This is where I’ll write. This is where ideas will be born, grown, crossed out, scribbled over, rewritten, and bravely submitted.
This is my desk.
And that’s when the tears came.
Because whether you write or knit or draw or hand-letter or paint or distress or crochet or bake or compose—whatever it is you do—you sometimes need a reminder that it matters. That it’s worth doing. That it’s worthy of respect. And maybe even worthy of its own special space.
Like a desk.
If you go into my “office” now, you’ll see a small desk with pictures of the people I love, notebooks filled with ideas, a bulletin board with reminders of why I take time to write, and maybe even a secret stash of dark chocolate.
Every picture, post-it note, notebook, and piece of chocolate is a reminder that I was meant to create. And the things I create have purpose.
And the same goes for you, too.
Here’s to remembering that the things we do matter—one desk and secret stash of dark chocolate at a time.