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30 Day Writing Challenge-My Commute

My longest commute to work has been an hour and a half while my shortest has been fifteen. Right now, I’m somewhere in between, depending on the day. 

My commute to work typically consists of loud music and lots of mental preparedness as I run through my upcoming day. If I need a good pump-up session, I’ll play songs I can sing to so that I’m nice and awake. Yes, I’m the crazy chick rocking out at 7:00 in the morning to anything from Eminem to Ed Sheeran, my taste in music dependent on my mood. It’s rare that I drive to work in silence, though not unheard of.  

My commute home is typically quiet unless I’m wrapping up my day with phone calls. I like the peace and quiet of my drive home and often need it to unwind and clear my mind, in preparation for a crazy household with three crazy males. Since my sons have learned how to FaceTime me, I find that those drives are typically less quiet as they’ll call me and travel me on the way home, often. Now my rides home tend to be more interactive opposed to the solitude that I’m used to but I don’t mind one bit. 

I know how lucky I am to have people who love me and can’t wait to see me. 

Being a Mom

Being a mom is one of the best decisions I’ve ever been fortunate enough to make. 

My husband and I toyed with the idea of being DINKs (Double Income, No Kids). We dreamt about it, wrapped our brains around the idea and fantasized about all of the money we’d have, until suddenly we’d worn it out and realized we were two people who were born to be parents. He’s Mr. Responsibility and  I’ve always been maternal (read-bossy yet affectionate) so the concept of parenthood  was an easy one to commit to fully. We understand how fortunate we were to have parenthood come to us when it did because while we weren’t too much older as new parents, we weren’t in our twenties either. In fact when my youngest was born, I had moved into a higher risk category because of my age and every medical professional reminded me of that, much to my dismay. 

Flash forward a decade later and I’m incredibly thankful for my two funny, loud, interesting kiddos. But let’s be honest. Sometimes being a parent is very hard and we lose ourselves in the idea of being the “perfect parent.” We are utterly  disappointed and defeated when we fall short and question whether we should’ve ever been allowed to have children in the first place. I remember just how much I cried when I wasn’t able to breastfeed, despite numerous experts and  failed efforts. I was sure that I was failing at the first task of motherhood and I was devastated. When my best friend who had breastfed both of her children with ease for the first year of their lives, told me that I was okay, I finally stopped beating myself up and allowed myself to enjoy my baby. Despite everything I had read, there were no bonding issues, no health issues, and both will likely be far more intelligent than I am.  

There have been countless other failures since then, like baby food in a jar (not homemade), forgetting pajama day (I took them back up), store-bought bakery (I’m a hot mess with flour and eggs), and the list goes on. I don’t buy organic anything, i fail at anything crafy, and I work too much many crazy hours to participate in the PTA. 

In spite of my many mommy fails, my children remain my most important thing.

But even though I’m a mom, I’m also a wife, a full-time professional, and a writer which means that  I still struggle with myself,  even about the important things. I recently had to cancel a book event that I’d committed to last year, when my son’s baseball tournament schedule came out. Their one tournament fell on the weekend of the event and  there was a small voice that whispered “Sorry kiddo, I won’t see you pitch/play on the Saturday of your tournamen.” But within a second, the the mom in me squashed that little voice and reminded me that these years pass so quickly. I always know that my children comes first. 

I always try and remember that when your little, everything in the world is big and while missing one day of games may not be huge for me, it could be monumental for him. While I’ve missed a few games due to work or my other son being sick or having a game, I’ve never missed anything as big-time as a tournament. What if he hit a home run or pitched an amazing game? Life’s moments are just too fleeting anf the memory of a child can be long and unforgiving, which I know from experience. 

Being mom means I also don’t get to write whenever I want or do what I want the moment I want to do it. It means that cuddle time precedes any and all else, and that spending time with my children and teaching them to be unselfish begins with me not being selfish. It means that I still get to be an adult but that I need to remember what it’s like to live in a world where your parents are your most important people. I need to remember that being there when they need me or want me for as much of their childhood as I can, is half the battle. Already  their childhood is slipping away and I’m looking at two boys who, in a few short years,  will be young man who won’t need or want me around as much as they do now. 

That’s why, for now, I’m good with just being mom. It’s not all of  me, and they both know this. But it’s the most important part of what I get to do right now.

I’m not perfect and I suck at a lot of mom-related things, I give them too much sugar and not enough vegetables, I work a lot and we eat too much carry-out food. I can be too distracted and cranky when I’m trying to finish a chapter, but for the small things, I always try to be there. If they can see how important all of the small things have been to me, when they’re bigger, and their lives and problems are bigger, I hope theyll see that I’ll be there for those moments too. 

Being Patient 

Being a writer has taught me patience, a virtue that I’ve been sorely lacking my entire life. 

 I’ve always been a driven person getting results through hard work and determination. Moving quickly, taking risks, and being decisive have served me well in life. 

Yet having patience has always taken a back seat and been sorely underrated. 

Then I had children and patience began to rear its elusive head and j have learned to stop, breathe, and then proceed. Now as a writer, I find it encompassing me even more. 

With a life that is consumed by a full-time career, two active boys, sports schedules, marriage, and family, the stories that are begging to be written often take a back seat. Days will go by without a written word until I’m ready to implode, but instead, I am patient. 

The writer in me didn’t fully emerge until I wrote Leaving Eva and self-published it in2013 (later republished by Booktrope Publishing in 2015). Even when I first began, I was impatient with myself when I started to write a book. I wanted to finish it as quickly as possible so I could get on to the next one but over time but I’ve learned not to rush the process and to allow myself to experience it, instead. Three books later, as I prepare to finish my fifth, Saving Eva,  I know that I could write so much more if only I had more time. I would be able to refine my skill, sharpen my prose, and perfect my craft. When I pick up a story that I haven’t worked on in weeks, much of the time is spent reacquainting myself with it, much like an old friend I having seen in a long time. 

Through this process, I have grown patient. 

I’m patient because I love my family and I have the luxury of loving my job and the people I work with. I’m patient because I’m not well-known and there isn’t a lot of pressure, and I’m not in great demand. I’m patient because my characters don’t always speak to me and sometimes I have to give them time to breathe so we can figure out what they’ll do next. Much like me, they need time, and I’ve learned to be patient with them and with myself. 

This journey of book writing, blogging, and authoring has only just begun for me even though I’m a lot older than I would’ve liked to be when it began. But I’ve learned that I can learn experience new things, challenge myself in ways I’ve never imagined, and that I’m not nearly complete. 

Time flies entirely too quickly and if I’m at too much of a hurry to get to the destination because I know that I’ll just miss too much a long the way. So I’m happy with where I am and the path that I’m on. As a writer, I’m challenged but not yet complete. 

And I am thankful that I have become a great deal more patient and am far happier.

Ten Vacation Lessons

We recently experienced our first big away vacation. While we’ve had a lot of stay-cations and a few smaller road trips, for many different reasons we’d not yet experienced the true “road trip” as a family. When I was younger I did a lot of road-tripping on my own and with friends  but as a mom with younger kids, we’ve stayed homebound for many years for many reasons.

  It’s been entirely too long since I’ve laid on a beach or sat in the sun pretending not to have a care in the world. But going far away from home on vacation reminded me of a few things, so I thought I would share them.

  1. I have new respect for the hot-spot. The mobile hot-spot to be more specific. I don’t know who decided that giving phones the ability to share the Internet with multiple devices would be a good idea, but I’d like to give that person a big, fat, sloppy kiss and hug. Having three children who are kept occupied with Internet access is priceless. It sure beats playing “I Spy”, the license plate game, and breaking up endless fights about “who is touching who.” While we still did some of all of that, they were able to occupy themselves for the most part while still interacting and watching the scenery around them when it got interesting.
  2. Travelling with four males is both funny and smelly. I’ll spare you all of the gross details, but if you’ve ever lived with one male, multiply it times four and you’ll understand what I mean. There was a lot of inappropriate joking, bathroom jokes, and multiple inquiries of “Who farted?” 
  3. This brings me to the third thing. After being trapped in a car for twenty hours and sharing a bathroom with all of these males, I’m reminded that I’m thankful that I can’t smell. Anything. Ever. Enough said.
  4. Humidity and bathing suits are not my friend. While my Asian skin loves the sun and soaks it up turning it golden brown, I also sweat profusely from  the top of my head like a man. This has always been embarrassing, incredibly un-ladylike and very unattractive. Gross! I hear Botox cures this which is would be the only reason to consider Botox. After all, I’ve earned my wrinkles but I don’t like literally melting when it’s the least bit humid. And while I’ve somewhat accepted that the days when throwing on a bathing suit didn’t give me complete and utter anxiety, are long gone, I also realize it’s up to me to take some personal responsibility. I can’t just throw in the towel and blame it on age and gravity.  I need to eat better, and work out. Period. No excuses.
  5. The world is really big and it’s my responsibility to teach my kids about its vastness and their place in it. While I don’t ever want to imagine a time that they aren’t near me, I don’t want them to live their lives feeling limited. I want them to feel the amazing, incredible, and endless possibilities of what their young lives can’t yet imagine. I want them to truly feel that the world is their oyster and that they can go anywhere in it and be anything they want to. By exposing them to a bigger world and showing them bigger things, hopefully they’ll understand that. I want them to imagine big things for themselves.  
  6. Going below an 1/8th of a tank of gas when you’re in the mountains and have no idea where you are going, in the middle of a thunderstorm, is going to guarantee a marital spat no matter who you are. Period. Always fill your tank when you have the tank because sometimes taking that risk causes unnecessary stress.
  7. Fun is what you make it! After you’ve nearly run out of gas in the mountains in the middle of a thunderstorm and gotten into a spat with your spouse, making fun of yourself for freaking out during the rest of your vacation is pretty funny. The sooner you can start laughing about it, the better. Truly this is something to remember in life. Attitude is completely a choice in most situations and while being lost in unfamiliar territory sometimes isn’t a choice, how you deal with it most definitely is.  
  8. My children are not perfect. It’s not that I didn’t already know this but when you love them so much, it’s easy to overlook their faults. Seeing them in different situations reminded me that it’s up to me to continue challenging them, encouraging them, and looking for opportunities to help them build their character.
  9. My children are so different from one another, yet so amazing and I can’t wait to see what they will become. Watching them experience new adventures and enjoy life with one hundred percent effort and joy is such a wonderful thing to watch. 
  10. Taking a vacation is good and necessary. It clears out the cobwebs and rests your body. I was reminded of how much I love to swim, even though I haven’t really done it in a very long time (see number four). I’ve been a swimmer since I was a kid, even life guarding for a summer in college, and I love it. Vacation reminded me that I don’t ever want to take a vacation that doesn’t involve swimming again. Lying in a pool in the middle of the mountains does something for the soul that no stay-cation gas ever done. Going away on vacation, unplugging from life for hours at a time, gave me such peace of mind and erased some of the stress from an otherwise tense and frustrated body.   

While I realize that going away isn’t always possible, the act of unplugging, de-stressing, and indulging in your family is priceless. We spent many moments escaping the heavy responsiblities of regular life, laughing at the most random things, and actively “freezing the moment” so we could remember our time together. It’s important to focus on the good moments and not dwell on the bad or the mundane. Thinking about the laughter and the good times in life get us through the more difficult times, until you can get to the good ones again. And time spent together can ultimately bring you closer when you let it.

While none of these are earth-shatteringly new revelations, they have been refreshing reminders. And I will hold onto them until the next time we go away, because there will definitely  be a next time. 

For the health of my mind and body, that is also my choice. 

Birthdays, McDreamy, a Book Signing, a Book Release, and an Excerpt

Last week was a HUGE week! HUGE, GINORMOUS… EPIC.

Not necessarily in this order, this is what happened

  • My youngest son turned eight
  • Derek Shepard died on Grey’s Anatomy
  • We had our first sleepover with the birthday boy’s friends
  • I worked a full work week in a new position that I love, with a company I love
  • I hosted a Book Release Party for Leaving Eva
  • Leaving Eva was republished through Booktrope Publishing
  • I attended the Cleveland Author Event for the second year in a row as a signing author

It would’ve been enough for one week if only Derek Shepard would have died, but then you throw in the rest of it, and it was indeed an insane week with A LOT of things happening. I’m not surprised that I’m still exhausted from all of it, which believe me, I’m not complaining at all! I’m lucky, happy, blessed, and excited that my life gets to be this full on a daily basis.

The funny thing is, baseball season for the boys hasn’t even really gotten into full swing yet, which I’m thankful for. I don’t know that I could’ve possibly fit anything else into this past week. I barely had time to shower and wash my hair!

I never understood this before, but as a writer, my brain is constantly going, and I do mean constantly. It drives my husband nuts because I can’t ever just sit.  I’m always looking at something, reading something, or doing something. On the rare occasion that I can just sit and relax, we simply spend time as a family enjoying one another’s company, watching B-movies, or hanging out. It’s the only down time I have, but the only down-time that will sustain me and not make me crazy.

Republishing my first book with Booktrope has been a wonderful experience. My team has been great, the process has gone well, and I couldn’t be more proud of the book. I loved the story to begin with, all of the characters a part of me, the good ones and the bad ones. And while I’m not yet as prolific an author as I would like to be, I’m happy with my work and excited to get to share, hopefully with a broader audience. I’ve finally defined myself as an author, writing women’s fiction (and fantasy, but that’s for later), with a beautiful brand that I love, and a story that I’m excited and happy to tell. And I feel as though I am finally settling into a life that seems to make sense for me, yet not too anxious to get comfortable yet. There is still so much to learn and experience, and I’m only now touching the top of what is to come.

I blame it on the writer brain, always in motion, never resting. 🙂

In celebration of the Leaving Eva book release, I’m going to leave you with the first chapter of the book. I’m hoping you’ll find it interesting and intriguing. Hopefully so much that you might want to share it or read more of it. The response and the feedback from readers who have read it has been unbelievable and my hope is that I’ll get the opportunity to continue sharing it with as many people as I can. I’m still such a minnow in a huge pond with millions of authors and books out there, which is daunting, but a wonderful challenge at the same time. Life isn’t easy for anyone, but if I can survive this past week, I think I can make it through many things! After all, surviving a bunch of boys ages 8-10 for a birthday party/sleepover can be a monumental feat to say the least! But I get to be a mom, an adventurer, and an author and all of this is exciting and fun so I consider myself very lucky to get to do all of this.

I’ll post on my adventures at the Cleveland Author Event in a later post. It was an incredibly fun time and I got to meet so many wonderful readers and authors. It honestly couldn’t have been any better. Even the death of Dr. McDreamy didn’t cast a shadow on the week which may be because I stopped watching when Dr. McSteamy was killed off a few seasons ago, which was devastating and I swore I couldn’t go through it again. So if I want to see Patrick Dempsey, who ironically reminds me of the MC in Leaving Eva (Dark thick hair, handsome, beautiful eyes), I’ll just google him or think of him as Adam in Leaving Eva.

Leaving Eva-Leaving Eva is the heartrending story of one woman’s battle to overcome her tragic childhood and the abandonment and abuse that haunt her. Caution: Eva’s story is contains graphic violence, strong language, drug abuse, domestic abuse, and child abuse.

In this dramatically dark novel, Jennifer Sivec, author of women’s fiction, delves into the selfishness and depravity of human nature, and begs you to question whether happiness can ever truly be attained once you have been deeply scarred.

http://amzn.com/B00VUA2GQK

Stupid Girl

Daddy. No!

 

Daddy, please stop!

 

Daddy, you’re hurting me!

 

She never saw it coming. She didn’t even know he had hit her until her right cheek and eye were exploding. With so much rage on his face, his anger emanated toward her, dangerous and hot.

She’d never seen Daddy so angry before, not even with Mommy.

She was stunned, her feet frozen in one spot. She wanted desperately to run but was unable to move. It was almost as though she was trapped in a bad dream and couldn’t wake up. Her heart was pounding hard in her chest, and her mind was racing. Daddy’s massive body was blocking the way, and she thought wildly that maybe if she didn’t move, he wouldn’t hit her again.

She was wrong.

He smacked her again, hard across the mouth, and she could feel blood pouring from her bottom lip. The saltiness of it made her want to gag. He reached out, grabbing her small thin arms, squeezing them so hard they felt as though they may break in two. He picked her up until her feet were dangling off the ground and threw her down, hard. Her head snapped back and hit the wood cabinets. The cracking sound resounded in her ears, and there was an instant blinding pain.

She knew she was crying, but couldn’t feel any tears. She was afraid, and it was a strange familiar, haunting feeling that she knew she had felt sometime before in her seven and a half years. Daddy was never overly affectionate or kind, but he had never hurt her. She had been with them for three years, and during that time, he had barely ever touched her, good or bad. But now, he was intent on hurting her for reasons that didn’t make sense.

She begged him to stop, trying to come up with the right words as they tumbled out in between the sobs. “Daddy, please! I–I–I–I’m sorry. I’ll be careful. I’m s–s–s–sorry.”

“You should be sorry! You need to be more careful, damn you. You ruin everything you touch with your filthy little hands!” He growled, grabbing hard at her long dark hair, pulling some of it out sharply at the roots. He yanked on the ponytail as she reached out blindly trying to get him to ease his grip.

Daddy’s blue eyes were dark and full of something that she didn’t recognize at all. His face was distorted, almost trance-like, looking through her as if he weren’t seeing her at all. She struggled away, but his grasp on her hair wouldn’t let her escape. She felt trapped and helpless, like a mouse in a cage. Without any effort, he grabbed her again and threw her back down to the ground.

The girl was crying so hard, her small body trembling in fear of what would happen to her next. “No, no, no, no,” she cried over and over. “I’m sorry! I didn’t mean it.”

She crouched down tight against the cabinets, and she pulled her body in, hoping to shrink. Maybe if I’m small, I’ll be hard to get, and he will stop. Maybe Daddy will stop!

He kicked clumsily at her sides with hard steel-toed work boots. “Damn stupid kid! Why do you have to be so clumsy? Jesus Christ, you’re ALWAYS spilling and dropping things.” His voice was so loud, and he was spitting as he hovered over her.

The girl was trying to remember why he was so mad and then she remembered the spilled iced tea all over the floor, soaking into the beige carpet like a sponge.

“I’ll be more careful. I’ll be more careful! PLEASE DADDY, you’re hurting me!” She was screaming, but he didn’t hear.

“I work my ass off to provide for you and your mother, and this is how you repay me! I should never have let your mother convince me to buy you, you stupid Bitch!” Daddy’s voice was ugly and full of hatred. The girl didn’t know if the pain from the blows or the mean words he spoke hurt the most.

She raised her hands over her head futilely as a shield. I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I’m so clumsy and bad! Please, Daddy, please. Her head was pounding, and there was pain everywhere.

 

One, two, and then three more times Daddy hit her. There had been so many that she had actually lost count. His hands were open one second and closed the next. There were blows coming from every direction, first hitting on the head, then the arms, both sides, and occasionally the face.

The smell of whiskey was hanging above the tiny girl in a large cloud, curling her nose with its sweet insipid smell. She was gagging and crying at the same time, and it was hard to breathe. She was choking on her own stupidity and carelessness. Mommy keeps telling me to be more careful. I’m a bad girl. I’m too loud and stupid, and I always spill things. Mommy will hate me now, too. I’m a bad girl!

She dared a glance upward and could see that Daddy was starting to pant, his face red while sweat poured down his forehead. Please God, make him stop. Please help me be more careful! Why can’t I just be a better girl?

“Please stop, please,” she cried desperately, in a small, frightened voice that she hadn’t heard before. Daddy doesn’t love me because I’m stupid. Daddy hates me. I hate me, too. I’m so stupid.

He looked at her, his gaze slicing through her. “You’re the reason your mother hates me! It’s all your fault, you stupid useless brat!”

It was true. Mommy has me so she can’t love Daddy. She told me. It is my fault!

 

It felt as if he had been hitting her for so long, but after only a few minutes, he was spent.

He finally staggered backwards clumsily, not looking her way at all. Daddy didn’t look well, his skin pale and wet with sweat, the rage replaced with confusion and shame.

“Go to your room, right now, Brynn!” His voice was barely audible as he looked away.

Brynn stood feeling unsteady for a moment, her body shaking uncontrollably as she willed her legs to move. I’m going, Daddy. I’m going.

 

Daddy turned and staggered out to the porch and lit up a cigarette. The cool night air came in with a welcome gust soothing her burning face, and she forgot about the pain momentarily. The danger was still palpable in the air, and Brynn realized that she needed to get to her room.

The journey up the stairs was difficult, but she finally made it, falling onto the bed with relief. Brynn buried her face into the pillow smearing bright red blood and tears on the crisp white pillowcase.

 

He hates me! He hates me, and I’m so stupid. It’s my fault. I’m so clumsy and stupid. If I run away, maybe Mommy will love him and then he will love me. I ruined everything! I wish I had never ever been born!

 

After what felt like hours, she stood up, carefully walked into the bathroom, and locked the door. Brynn looked in the mirror and searched all over for bruises. The right cheek and eye were swelling and turning purple. The split in her lip was also swelling at an alarming rate as the blood was starting to crust and dry up. Her eyelids were swollen from crying so hard, and there was nothing but pain in her ribs, back, arms, and legs from all of the kicking they endured.

 

Brynn wished Mommy would hurry home. Mommy, where are you? Mommy, I need you!

Daddy had never been this mean before. He was to Mommy, but not to Brynn. He yelled occasionally, but had never kicked, hit, or swore at her. Daddy never kissed or hugged her, but Brynn always thought he loved her. After all, he bought her things from time to time, like big lollipops and candy from the store. He gave her presents for birthdays and on Christmases. My Daddy hates me! He wishes I were never adopted. He hates me more than anything in the world.

What if Daddy hits me all the time? The thought struck suddenly. I should run away.

Brynn knew Mommy couldn’t protect her. Mommy couldn’t even protect herself. While Daddy had never hit Brynn before, he hit Mommy. He even shook Mommy hard making her flop all over the place like Brynn’s favorite doll, Betsy. Mommy said it wasn’t Daddy’s fault. She said it was only because of the alcohol. Today, Daddy was drinking a lot of alcohol, and Brynn noticed that it was a lot more than usual.

The “special” glass was filled up five times, full to the top. Usually, Daddy only had Brynn fill it two or three times, and then Mommy did the rest after bedtime. Daddy never filled his own glass because he said it was their responsibility. “I put a roof over your heads, and give you food to eat, and clothes to wear. I buy everything!” He reminded them of this often.

Even though Daddy was mean to Mommy, Brynn still loved him. You’re supposed to love your Daddy. That’s what happy families do. They love each other. She wanted to have a happy family more than anything. Even though her only friend, Stacy, had a sad family, families were supposed to be happy. Mommy didn’t like Brynn to have a lot of friends because she didn’t want her away from the house much. Mommy always made her come home so she could spend time with her. Mommy said that she missed Brynn too much when she was gone.

Brynn was sad because Mommy didn’t love Daddy. Mommy told her repeatedly, even if Daddy was in the room, that she didn’t love him. She always whispered it loudly, pretending that it was their little secret. Brynn knew that Daddy could still hear. But Daddy was quiet like he didn’t care, even though he had a funny look on his face. Mommy and Brynn were best friends, and Mommy told her everything.

“We only stay with him because he takes care of us, Brynn. I only love you,” Mommy always told her. Brynn thought that maybe Daddy loved Mommy. Why else would he take care of them? Maybe Daddy will stop taking care of us now that he is hitting me, too. Brynn was afraid of what would happen to them.

There must have been something wrong with her or Brynn’s real Mommy would have wanted her. Brynn picked up the picture of her and Mommy Rose that sat next to her bed. It was a picture of them right after her “Gotcha Day.” Brynn looked very different then, so skinny and scraggly with a permanently sad expression on her face. She thought about her real Mommy, and again wondered where she was and why she left her. Brynn wondered if her real Mommy ever thought of her and what she looked like. Would my real Mommy care that Daddy was hitting me? Would she save me?

Brynn reached up carefully touching her cheek. It felt big and was throbbing and stinging. She felt hot. She lifted up her shirt and saw the skin on her sides turning red and purple. Her arms were tender and painful to the touch and there were handprints bruising her skin.

She moved slowly to her bed and waited for Mommy Rose to come home. Every part of her face was burning, and her lip kept bleeding. As hard as she tried, she couldn’t stop crying, salty tears burning the open wound on her lip. How could Daddy be so mean?

 

Mommy! When she finally heard the car in the driveway, her heart leapt for joy. Brynn dared not leave the bedroom for fear Daddy would see her.

Mommy will come kiss me good night. Brynn waited for Mommy to come up. When Mommy saw her face, she would know what Daddy had done. Brynn was ashamed that Daddy had to punish her.

Maybe Mommy won’t love me anymore either, she thought suddenly. She’ll think I’m too clumsy, too. She hates when I spill things because he always yells at me. Maybe she will hit me, too. Brynn was suddenly afraid. She hadn’t thought of that before.

She waited anxiously. When Mommy’s light footsteps echoed in the hall, Brynn held her breath, waiting for the door to open. Did Daddy tell her what I did? What if she hates me, too?

The door opened slowly and Mommy walked in looking like an angel. Mommy’s brown eyes were very serious as she looked at Brynn. She didn’t say anything but instead, walked over to the bed slowly, and hugged Brynn. Brynn held her tight and sobbed into her chest.

“Oh, Brynn,” Mommy said in a soothing voice. “What did you do? Why were you so clumsy? Why can’t you just be more careful? It will be okay.”

Brynn couldn’t speak. She couldn’t say anything between the sobs.

Mommy gently touched Brynn’s swollen cheek, tears forming in her own eyes. She started to reach toward Brynn’s cracked lip and stopped before touching it.

“Brynn, you have to be more careful. Daddy doesn’t like messes. You can’t spill because he gets really mad.” Mommy scolded gently. Mommy didn’t look angry like he had. Instead, she had a different look on her face. It was a look that Brynn didn’t understand. Brynn breathed a sigh of relief. Mommy didn’t hate her like Daddy did.

She held Brynn close. Mommy smells like flowers. Sweet.

For the first time that night, Brynn felt safe. Mommy went to the bathroom, got a washcloth, ran cool water over it, and washed Brynn’s tearstained face. She wiped Brynn’s swollen cheek and gently swabbed her bloody lip. She was careful as she tried to clean up the crusted blood. Mommy spoke gently, soothing, as she did when Brynn was much smaller. Then she tucked Brynn into bed and kissed her first on the forehead and then on the cheek. Brynn winced in pain and then smiled weakly, relieved that Mommy was home.

“There will be no school until your lip and face looks better, sweet girl,” Mommy said attempting a smile. “We’ll stay home and do puzzles together all day and drink hot cocoa. We’ll have a ‘girl’s day’.” Mommy stroked Brynn’s hair lightly, “But you can’t tell anyone about Daddy hitting you. If you do, they will take you away from me.”

Brynn didn’t want to be away from Mommy. She loved Mommy.

“I promise, Mommy, I won’t tell,” Brynn said, her voice small and serious.

“You’re a good girl, darling,” Mommy said looking at Brynn with adoring eyes.

“No, I’m not, Mommy, I’m a bad girl. I took your love away from Daddy. It’s my fault you don’t love him,” Brynn cried. She wanted to confess because she didn’t want to keep a secret from Mommy.

Mommy’s face got angry and then she suddenly smiled, showing her pretty white teeth. “Oh, Brynn. It’s not your fault I don’t love Daddy. I never loved Daddy. I only married Daddy so that I could find you one day. Even if you weren’t here, I still wouldn’t love Daddy.”

Brynn was relieved. It wasn’t her fault after all, but then she was sad. Poor Daddy. Not to be loved was so sad.

“Is Daddy going to hurt me again? It really hurt, Mommy,” she said sadly, trying not to whimper.

“No, Brynn! Mommy won’t let Daddy hurt you like that again!” Mommy said. But Brynn was still afraid because Daddy hit Mommy, and nothing could stop him.

Mommy answered without Brynn asking, “I know Daddy hits me, but we can’t leave because he takes care of us. We need him. I’ll talk to Daddy and I won’t leave you alone with him again.”

Brynn was relieved. She wasn’t alone with him much, but if it were never, then he couldn’t hurt her again.

“Thank you, Mommy!” She loved Mommy so much. Mommy was pretty and nice, and Brynn loved her with all of her heart—to the moon and back, “I love you so much, Mommy!”

Mommy gave her baby girl a sad smile. She bent over and tucked Brynn in, leaving the night light on.

“Go to sleep, sweet girl. I love you, too,” she whispered softly.

Brynn closed her eyes and got as comfortable as she could. She moved around trying to get more comfortable despite the pain. All of her muscles hurt and her lip were stinging. She didn’t realize how tired she was, and she quickly started to drift off.

Mommy went downstairs, and just as Brynn fell asleep, she was jolted awake by the sound of Daddy yelling. Daddy was yelling at Mommy!

She covered her ears tight trying in vain to block out the voices. Mommy was screaming, and then there was a slapping sound. Something made a loud cracking sound, like the sound of wood splintering and breaking, which made her jump. Mommy cried out loudly.

Brynn huddled up tight in her bed and squeezed her eyes closed as she felt tears running down her face. Daddy, please don’t hurt Mommy. She wanted to run downstairs, but she was afraid. What if he hits me again? Mommy, Mommy! Brynn grabbed her dolly, Betsy, and hugged her until the screaming stopped. Then there was an eerie silence in the house. She tried to stay awake, because she was terrified that her door would open, and then he would come in and try to hurt her again. She strained to hear Mommy’s voice, but there was nothing but quiet. She listened hard for Mommy to make a sound, but she didn’t hear anything in the house. Her eyelids started to get heavy and she finally fell into a restless, painful sleep.

Sorting Socks

I haven’t blogged in, what feels. like. forever.

I find that summer is an extremely difficult time to write. It’s not because the words are not there, but because the time to let them flow, is not. This can certainly make for a frustrated writer.

Between baseball, working, spending time with little boys who are home all summer, and juggling the craziness of plain old life, blogging falls to the bottom of the priority list, with working on my fourth novel not that much higher. I’m not whining… not really. Doesn’t anyone and everyone feel the way I do about things they love? Life just gets in the way which is expected.

But do you want to know what really makes me crazy?? It’s the ONE thing in life I can’t stand or accept no matter how hard I try. It’s the one thing that pulls me from being able to write and makes me insane… sorting socks!

With four people who wear multiple pairs of socks sometimes all in one day even, between washing, sorting, matching, and folding I waste hours of valuable writing time. HOURS! HOURS! If you’re like me, socks are the last thing I deal with when doing laundry. I would rather clean a toilet than sort through a gigantic pile of socks in every imaginable size and shape. It’s a task that feels futile… you know what I mean. Laundry is the one domestic duty I detest because it’s time consuming, annoying, and never ever ending. And honestly, I’d rather be writing. I’d rather be writing than doing many things, but I’m not kidding, I would rather go naked if it was socially acceptable that wash another load of dirty clothes.

An old friend asked me the other day,” How does it feel to be a writer?”

I struggled to answer the question because quite frankly, I don’t often feel like a writer. As much as I want to be, I’m more often other things. Queen Sock Sorter, being one of them. And it’s not a question of not wanting to write more often, it’s just a matter of what is most important in my life, and sometimes, those little pieces of cotton just end up to be priority above sitting at a keyboard and “bleeding” (Ernest Hemingway).

I jest, but seriously. Show me a writer, mother, blogger, full time career woman, SAH (stay at home) Mother, who doesn’t deal with the same issues? How many times do you say “I would work out more” or” eat healthier”, “get my nails done”,  or “take that art class” if only… I didn’t have to (fill in the blank)? So, I’ve decided it’s time to make a stronger effort.

Writing makes me happy.

It calms my nerves, empties my head, and is the one thing I do for ME. I don’t write because I’m expected to or even particularly great at it. If I stopped writing tomorrow the only person who might really miss it, is me, which I accept and am completely fine with. But being a writer helps me reflect so I understand who I am and can make better sense of the world which is why I’ve always done it. Which is why I’ve decided that this Queen Sock Sorter can also be a more prolific writer.

I just have to figure out how.

I’ll keep fighting to blog and to write because sorting socks just depresses me. And hopefully you’ll see more pieces from me in the near future as I practice my writing skills, release the demons, and do something other than practice my powers as a domestic Goddess. 😉 And if anyone wants to come over and sort my socks for me, you can comment below and we can negotiate. 🙂

 

Being Mom

I never pictured myself being a mom, when I was a young girl. I didn’t think about being one when I was a teenager or even as a young adult in my twenties. I didn’t even know if I wanted to be one when I got married. Being a mom just wasn’t anything I considered, although I knew at some point I would have to figure it out.

The first time I held a baby, the poor thing cried because I was so nervous. It’s not that I didn’t like kids, in fact I loved them. I babysat, was a camp counselor, and spent a lot of time with my niece who was my favorite kid.

But fortunately being a mom got to be a conscious decision, for me. I knew it meant giving up a lot of who I was and the life I was accustomed to. I knew being a mom meant sleepless nights and lifelong commitment to people I didn’t yet know. Then one day, having children became something I wanted more than anything and I’ve never looked back. I LOVE being a mom. It’s fun, exciting, fulfilling, demanding and rewarding. In addition to loving and absolutely adoring them, I really LIKE my kids and I think they LIKE me, as well.

But when I was a younger mom, I forgot one major thing. Me. I was so caught up in the diapers, sleepless nights, and juggling new motherhood, family, and career, I completely and totally lost sight of myself. It’s a common phenomenon and every mom I’ve ever talked to experiences the same thing. After nearly a decade, I’m learning that being Mom doesn’t mean I have to cease being ‘Jen.’ Finally discovering that, makes me unbelievably happy. It’s not that I am not completely in love with my two crazy, beautiful children. But I also want to love and be proud of myself, too.

I’ve been able to find a way to do that through a love and passion, temporarily forgotten. Writing.

Writing has helped me in every aspect of my life, as I feel a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment that I’ve been missing. It’s not that career, family, and motherhood haven’t been enough for me. They’ve been more than enough and to have all of those things in my life make me feel incredibly fortunate and blessed. But from a young age, I was always a writer. And getting to write again, has made having a career, family, and being a mother tremendously sweeter. It has opened my eyes to just how beautiful and fulfilling my life is, and it has made everything better.

While being Mom is without question, the most important role I have ever lived, getting to be ‘Jen the writer’ is a wonderful role as well. As a parent, we put themselves on the back burner, often forgetting ourselves completely. Whether it’s writing, crafting, an hour at the salon, a visit to a coffee shop, or a night out with girlfriends, it’s important we remember who we are and what makes us happy. It means we get to be more content for our children and ultimately, makes us better parents.

I’ve come to the realization that one of the greatest gifts I can give my children, is Me. I’m their protector, encourager, motivator, and teacher. But I’m also the person to teach them that following your path in life means being true to yourself. And even though I have boys, I’m hoping this lesson will sink in when they are fathers or they need to support and encourage their overwhelmed wives.

My life has nearly come full circle from a place I wasn’t happy to be in-a few years ago, to a place I am ecstatic to be in-now. I have everything I love; job, family, life, and my writing. I give myself permission to write and shut out the world, when I want to or even sometimes need to. Not because it’s something I’m able to ‘do’, but because it’s who I am; a dreamer and a story teller. Writing takes me back to my childhood where I was enthralled with myths and fairy tales. It thrills my imagination, excites my soul, and awakens my spirit. It’s the miracle of creating something from nothing, and blending creativity with tenacity, which is ironically how I’ve always regarded motherhood. And through it all, I realize the two go hand in hand.

Now I know now how amazing my life is, being Mom.