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From the Homefront: From the Homefront: Friends of the off hours

My dad was home for dinner every night when I was growing up. He was a businessman who came home from work, played chase with us before bed and tucked us in. That was all we knew.Oh, we knew on the periphery that he wrote books and songs and poems, but we didn't know that after we were tucked into bed, he often headed back to the office to work on these creative endeavors.But now I understand why he did it. He enjoyed his job, but it wasn't his passion. The job supported his burgeoning family. What he worked on late into the night is what made him happy.The more kids I have, the more I take after my dad, trying to squeeze life out of the blue hours of the day. I love waking in the wee hours of the morning to exercise or read. Across the way I will see cars speed by, or lights shining like teeth through the dark. I feel such a kinship to these people. There are others out there as well, making things happen.I like to think that we are part of a special club. For some, this time happens before the sun peeks over the horizon. Others toil by the light of a late-night moon, tinkering in their workshops.These are the people who know that in order to do what they love, it has to be done in the hours when the world doesn't dictate our priorities. We are doing something we feel passionate about, and it may not be paying us now, or ever, but it's the fuel that keeps us going. We spin it in our minds by day so we can record it when our hands are free and the clock no longer reminds us of more pressing things.Some swim through icy, 6 a.m. waters. I have a brother who comes home from his day job to compose music late into the night. I have friends who rise early to jog through the dark streets, because exercise is important to them, and they know they won't get it in any other way. Others sew or paint. There are people who finish their college degree when the rest of us are still in bed.I once wrote a poem that began:"Night time, is my write time,While all the children sleep."I like to think we all have a little Batman in us, the buttoned-up Bruce Wayne by day, black-clothed superhero by night. What dragons are you slaying while your children sleep?And why do we do it? Because sometimes priorities must displace our passion for a time. Responsibility overshadows personal interest.I hope for the day when I can write for hours on end without being interrupted by a call for help, a request for stories, or the nagging of a day's dishes and laundry, but now is not that time. I have four little children who need their mama nonstop. I can't expect anything else. After all, it's what I signed up for, and wanted to do more than anything else.But along the way, I will continue to do what my father taught me — be with my kids every waking hour, feeding them, clothing them, playing with them, while the stories and thoughts dance through my head. And when those little ones sleep, I will scribble furiously, giving voice to the other side of my dreams.