This month, the Sweet Sixteens (a group of YA authors debuting in 2016) are writing about gratitude. I'm grateful for many, many things, but 1977 changed my life from just okay to downright lucky. (On this blog, I refer to my family by their birth dates. 1977 is my spouse.)
I've had many, many jobs in my life, but all I really wanted was to raise my own children and write books. At 28, I was working a 70-hour a week job, traveling 100 percent of my work time, and dating a guy so awful that I couldn't even see babies when we were together. (He was the antidote to Baby Fever The relationship ended badly.)
A month later, I met 1977 and everything changed. Within six weeks, I quit the traveling job and followed my heart into the nonprofit sector.
Very early in our relationship, we agreed that we would have children. There's no one right way to raise a family, but we were perfectly aligned in that respect: we wanted one parent home to parent the children. Given the differences in our earning potential and my overwhelming desire to mother every small living thing, I stayed home. We sacrificed so we could live on one salary. He got to play with computers at work every day, and I snuggled our first baby.
It was bliss.
Our first child was very difficult to soothe and satisfy, and tag-teaming a small child's bodily fluid leakage really bonded us. By our third year of marriage, we had seen each other at our worst and shared the most embarrassing parts of ourselves. There were no secrets. Almost. I still had that very private, quite insistent need to keep writing.
Years into our marriage--years!--I confessed to my dear 1977 that all I really wanted to do professionally was write. I'm a relatively reserved and hugely insecure person, so this felt like baring my soul to him. His encouragement was all the permission I needed. I started writing while our daughter napped and, eventually, I shared my writing with 1977. He liked it.
A few months into writing, I had another confession: I wanted to be a published author. He told me to go for it, and that time his encouragement felt bigger than permission. It felt like confidence, strength, and assurance that I could do it.
And I did. Next year, a couple of books and a couple of babies later, my first novel will be published. I still stay home with our girls, and I still write on naps, but this is exactly where I wanted to be. And I couldn't have made it here without him.
I am grateful, and changing my entire life is just the really big thing I'm grateful for. My 1977 also is a goofy dad, a thoughtful cook, a worthy board game rival, a great friend, and a life partner in the truest sense. Basically, he's a solid guy, and I'm grateful for that every day.
*Special thanks to Amanda and Eric for the awesome Meeple t-shirts.
I blog rarely, because I'm busy writing books. When I do blog, I focus on writing, friendship, family, and books. Because my family's best nicknames are private, I use their birth years for shorthand: