When my youngest daughter was three years old her great grandmother died. I traveled to Michigan for the funeral, leaving my husband in charge of my two daughters.
It was the first time I’d ever been away from Abigail overnight.
I was gone five days and when I returned Abbey couldn’t quit asking about the great grandmother she’d never known. A cousin had thoughtfully put together wonderful scrapbooks of photographs of my grandmother, Grace, and passed them out to family at the funeral. Every night before bed, Abbey poured over the photos, asking questions.
Her repeated question was “mommy where did your grandma go?”
It was her first experience with death and I explained to Abigail that her great-grandmother had gone to be with the angels in heaven.
This went on for several nights until, about four nights after my return Abbey asked plaintively, “mommy is your grandma asleep?”
“Abbey,” I replied, a little impatiently since I had already repeated myself three times, “I told you, your great grandma is an angel in heaven now.”
“I know mommy,” Abbey said patiently, as if I were a bit slow, “but do angels sleep?”
I looked at her in some surprise. “Well, that’s a good question Abbey – I don’t know if angels sleep!”
With that she sat up – in her recently acquired “big girl bed” – with her hands on her hips and replied “well just how did you get to be a mommy anyway?! You don’t know anything!”
I still laugh when I remember that night.
We don’t take any classes or get any kind of special training to be a mother, although God only knows we could use some.
I started writing grant proposals six years ago without any training whatsoever. Just a background in writing, a passion for my organization’s mission and a need – since I was the sole development person and a lot needed to get done – to get proposals out the door quickly. Our budget didn’t allow for much by way of training either.
Fortunately I’d spent six years working for a foundation and reviewed a whole lotta grant proposals. I’d also always been a great one for self-learning – and a frequent visitor to the now defunct “How to Do It” bookstore in Philadelphia.
Seven years later I’ve had the opportunity to attend numerous courses and seminars on grant proposal writing, read countless books on writing the perfect proposal, and even written a book! But I think what separates a good writer from an adequate one is the ability to constantly learn and grow.
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