I Did My Best

My child, you are so precious to me.

You were created because of a dream, one born out of the love your father and I shared. I carried you in my womb for nine months. I experienced physical sickness and pain. I worried about you so much, I ached inside. I prayed that God would protect you from all the hurt and disappointment and grief I experienced in my youth, all the while knowing deep down that pain would be a necessary teacher in your life. I watched you on the screen during every ultrasound, in awe, in humility, in shock. How could I be in charge of this little person, this precious, helpless, impressionable person? Flawed creature that I am, I knew I would make mistakes. And the very thought terrified me. Still, I determined to do my best. Because I love you, my child.

Little One, you are so fragile.

I watched your mother give birth, helpless to ease her pain, unable to shoulder even an ounce of that burden. But I held her hand and I cheered her on when she thought she had given all that she could. And, together, we welcomed you into this harsh, demanding, unforgiving world. We brought you home, rearranged our lives around you. We made a promise as we stood over your sleeping little form. We would do everything in our power to make you feel loved. We would create a safe haven for you, a home you would always want to come back to. We would give you every good thing that was in our power to give and teach you every good thing our parents taught us, maybe more. We were just children ourselves, still learning what it meant to be adults. But we wanted to do our best for you. Because we love you, Little One.

My child, be patient with me.

I know it seems like I say “no” more than I say “yes.” But it’s only because there is so much out there that can hurt you and I’m afraid. I trust God can keep you safe, but I also understand that He will allow certain things to come into your life in order to shape you. Certain things that I would do everything in my power to help you avoid. I see only what’s right in front of you while He sees it all. It’s so hard to guide you down this dark road with only the light from my very dim headlights to show us the way. It’s so hard for me to let go. Sometimes I think I’m doing well, while other times I’m so sure I’m an absolute failure as a mother. But I’m doing my best. Because I love you, my child.

Little One, listen to me.

There’s so much I want to teach you, so much I’ve learned that I’m sure will benefit you. Why do you scoff and turn away? Why do you insist on doing things by yourself? Don’t you trust me? I’m trying to help, to give you the knowledge I wish my father had given me, to ease your way through this life. I’ve looked forward to teaching you since the day you were born. Please, don’t rob me of this. I want you to become a good, smart, resourceful, person and this is the only way I know how. But I can’t help you if you don’t let me. Can’t you see I’m doing my best here? I love you, Little One.

My child, forgive me.

In my exhaustion and desperation, I’ve made poor choices. Our lives are not simple; sometimes our circumstances only serve to bring out the worst in us. And I’m sorry. I’m truly sorry. You deserve someone better as a mother but you got stuck with me. Please, don’t shut me out. Every moment we spend together is priceless. I promise I’m still trying my best. I love you, my child.

Little One, understand me.

I never knew fatherhood would be this hard. I struggle to discipline you. I struggle to find common ground. I struggle to express myself in a clear and healthy manner. Only now am I realizing that my father had the same issues I’m having now. He never taught me how to overcome this because he never figured it out himself. But maybe he was just trying his best too. No matter what happens, never doubt that I love you, Little One.

My child, you are amazing.

I know it’s only by the grace of God that you flourish. You have your vices, you have your flaws, but you are also talented and smart and brave. And I’m so proud of you. Soon you’ll be venturing out on your own but I’ll be here for you whenever you need me. It’s still hard for me to let go, I’ll admit. But I’ll do my best to give you the independence you’ve always wanted. Because I love you, my child.

Little One, you’ve come so far.

You became your own person right under my nose. Stand tall but stay humble. There’s much to be thankful to God for. We had some bumps along the way; sometimes I felt like bopping you upside the head, but I’m glad I did my best for you. I love you, Little One.

Mom, Dad, I used to think you were so exasperating.

There was a certain comfort in the circle of your arms but the allure of the outside world was so very strong. I couldn’t wait to break free. But the truth is? I didn’t know what you were going through. I couldn’t understand how you felt. I could only see my side of things and I lashed out at you when I felt wronged. I can’t say how sorry I am for every angry or hurtful thing I said to you. Because I have a kid now and I’m learning that I don’t know anything about this incredibly gratifying, yet equally impossible task that is parenthood. Looking back, I can see that you were only doing your best. Thanks for that.

I love you both.

A Much-Needed Update

I kind of disappeared from the internet and real life during the quarantine. For that I apologize. Here’s pretty much everything noteworthy that happened during the month of April:

I was given an office phone and asked to work from home. It was an interesting time. I got a taste of the stay-at-home mom life and it was pretty great, I’m not going to lie. There were times when I’d get frustrated or depressed about the fact that I couldn’t go anywhere. It’s officially summer in Phoenix which discouraged me from taking very many walks with Bennett. But, for the most part, I really enjoyed spending all that time with my son. I witnessed several firsts that I otherwise might’ve missed if I’d had to keep going into the office everyday.

He colored for the first time. It was a bunch of squiggles with an orange colored pencil but it was beautiful to me. He started pointing at things, as if inquiring after them. Then he’d sit there and listen to me explain what they were. He started handing me books and toys on a regular basis and waiting expectantly for me to do something with them. He started standing on his own. He’s still not confident enough to take any steps, but we’ll get there. He’s growing so fast and learning so much. It’s a treat to witness.


 
 

Staying home also allowed me to rest. (For those of you who don’t know, I’m pregnant again. It’s a little ahead of schedule but we’re still excited and more than ready to meet our little girl!) My baby bump turned into a mountain seemingly overnight, sapping my strength and slowing me down considerably. Our baby girl is healthy and strong, though. There’s much to be thankful for.

Over the weekend, I celebrated a birthday and my very first Mother’s Day, which was an emotional time for me. Businesses are slowly starting to open up here but we didn’t want to brave the crowds of people so my husband and I had quiet celebrations at home. May is a big month for us as far as celebrations go. Bennett’s first birthday is on the 18th and our five year wedding anniversary is on the 29th! Hopefully by then it’ll be safer to venture out into the world.

Permission has been granted for some businesses to start opening again. Churches will be allowed to open later in the summer so the office is preparing. I’ll be returning to work part-time. It’s going to be an adjustment for both me and Bennett, but we’ll endure. Besides, all too soon it’ll be time to go on maternity leave!

The Andromeda’s Ghost is on NetGalley and, according to my publisher, it’s getting a good reception from librarians, retailers, journalists, trade reviewers, and book bloggers. I was told the book would be available for pre-order early in June and is all set to be published on July 16!

BHC Press is already preparing the publication schedule for 2021. I submitted the second book in The Andromeda Chronicles, The Andromeda’s Captain, so they could add it to the line up. It’s crazy to think that another one of my books could be coming out this time next year, but that’s totally a possibility!

In other news, deals have been made and the plan has been set in motion so that the books I publish through BHC Press will be translated into different languages! More news on that later.


My big project during the quarantine was finishing my edits for Death’s Curses and getting all the necessary documents ready to submit to BHC Press. It took a lot longer than I care to admit (escaping from distractions at home proved to be more difficult than I thought!) but at last it’s done. The query letter, book description, synopsis, and first six chapters have been submitted for their consideration. It can take 6-8 weeks for them to get to the documents, review everything, and make a decision what with the enormous amount of submissions they get every day. I’ll be moving onto other projects to keep busy while I wait to hear back from them but, for right now, I’m celebrating.


There’s still the possibility of another wave of the Coronavirus hitting us. Stay safe and brave, you guys.

A much kneeded break

Back in September I wrote a blog post about my husband tearing his meniscus. It just occurred to me last week that I never followed up. After the official diagnosis, my husband went through approximately seven weeks of physical therapy while we waited for his work insurance to approve corrective surgery. During that whole time, he was limping along on crutches and on “sitting duty only” at work.

The week of Thanksgiving, we finally got the approval we needed. The surgery was scheduled for Cyber Monday. I drove him to the surgical center at five in the morning. My grandparents very graciously offered to sit with me while he was in surgery. Because neither my car nor my husband’s truck could fit him with his new, rigid knee brace, they drove him back to our house in their car. And ever since then, I’ve taken on his responsibilities on top of mine.

It was easy at first. He was in pain and physically incapable of doing even little things on his own. I could see how miserable and frustrated he was. I was willing to do anything it took to make him comfortable. I happily served his food and jumped up to get his drinks or his medicine. I did all the chores around the house. I even scooped the cat litter, something my husband has done without complaint since we got married, something I abhor doing because of what it does to my sinuses. I changed out the five-gallon water bottle and brought in the groceries all by myself. I often forgot to put the trashcans on the curb on Thursday mornings but I got better at remembering.

My husband was so appreciative, apologizing repeatedly for not being able to help.

But, the more time has passed, the harder it has been to do everything with a good attitude. Because it’s exhausting. I feel like a kernel of corn popping around in a corn popper, rushing around to get things done, finally sitting down to rest, only to realize I forgot to do something or get something for him. And up I get again. He is still appreciative and he still apologizes, but (if I’m honest) those words are starting to lose their impact. Him being appreciative or apologetic doesn’t change anything. I still have to do everything.

Traveling to Wisconsin was what pushed me over the limit, I think. I’ve come to love traveling with my husband because he’s so calm and collected at the airport. Plus, he packs lightly and efficiently, which helps. But this time around, I had to do the packing for both of us. All of his winter wear is in boxes, scattered in various closets around the house, so I had to do a lot of scurrying and searching. Once everything was assembled, I was the one dashing from window to window to door, checking locks. I was the one hauling our dog and her kennel to a friend’s house. I was the one pulling our enormous rolling suitcase around while carrying the large backpack carry-on plus my purse and my heavy jacket. I was in charge of our tickets, checking in our bag, and getting all of our things through security. I was stressed out. He got to ride a wheelchair.

Then we got to my mother-in-law’s house. We had a blast with our family, but I took an hour long nap every day we were there. At the time, I was confused as to why I was so tired. Looking back now, it’s obvious. I was in the kitchen with my mother-in-law half the time, whipping up eggs and waffles and french toast and bacon and cookies and pie. When I wasn’t in the kitchen, I was rushing around the house, getting things for my husband. I had two evenings where I got to sit and enjoy a card game or a movie. Then we flew back home and went right back to work. I didn’t get much rest while on my vacation. Still, I comforted myself with the thought that I had the Friday before New Years off, which meant a long weekend of resting.

But it wasn’t really. I spent that time cleaning and cooking some more and helping my husband. Another week is almost over and I’m still as tired as I was before. I need another vacation, one where I don’t. Do. Anything.

Anyway, the good news is that my husband is healing. He’s not in pain anymore, which is good. He can comfortably bend his knee to ninety degrees and even put some weight on it. We have another doctor’s appointment this upcoming Tuesday. We’re both hoping the doctor will give the “okay” for him to ditch the crutches and start physical therapy. Then life will slowly start going back to normal. I think.

I’d like to say that this experience has grown me as an individual and has strengthened our marriage, but I don’t think I can. Not yet. What I can say is this: I have a new found respect for women whose husbands have a disability. I mean, I always admired them but now that I’ve gotten a taste of what it’s like…they’re definitely on a pedestal. At least in my case, there’s an end in sight. I can’t imagine doing what I’ve been doing every single day for the rest of my life and keeping a good attitude throughout. That takes a kind of patience and endurance that I clearly haven’t developed yet.

And maybe that’s the lesson to be learned here; I still have some growing up to do.