Earlier this week I was invited to participate in one of my area’s working mom’s luncheons coordinated through the city’s Chamber of Commerce. I love these functions because everyone there is not only trying to expand their network for business purposes, but are genuinely interested in swapping tips for how best to achieve work life balance.
After a bit of pure socialization the more formal portion of the program began and the guest speaker took the stage. She was cheerful and energetic during her introduction and I was eager to hear what secrets this person who so obviously had her life together was going to share with the group.
Then she started telling us her life story, and the smile slipped. I realized very quickly how very wrong I had been to judge her particular book from its cover. She talked about dealing with the death of a parent in her early teens, and how she struggled to put herself through college and achieve her dream job. Just as you thought she was going to wrap up her presentation with the old “and they all lived happily ever after,” she told us about her experience with every parent’s worst nightmare, the loss of a child.
You could have heard a pin drop in the room. I felt my eyes tear up as she went on to talk about how she was only able to get out of bed due to her eldest child and the guilt she felt in having another baby later. Amazingly, somehow she had been able to maintain the ability to feel gratitude even after her ordeal; gratitude for her family, her friends, and her extended support network. She told us about how while her family would never be whole, they were made stronger.
She tasked us all to discuss the challenges we individually had faced and how we had been able to grow as a result. In full disclosure, no one at my table felt we could top that speech. Her experience had been too raw, too real, for us to process over the next thirty minutes and a cupcake. We instead choose to tackle safer topics such as the ideal age difference in siblings and the headaches resulting from our local kindergarten enrollment process.
I went home that night and my toddler’s terrible twos were in full force. Imagine a Tasmanian Devil hopped up on speed, chased with a pack of Red Bull. You might then have some idea of his disposition. He was having one of those days. His brother wasn’t exactly helping the situation by demanding my attention each and every time I attempted to sit down and decompress. But as much as I might have been tempted at that moment to sell them to the circus, at least both of my boys were home and healthy.
Obviously dealing with the challenges of living with the pre-school set can in no way compare with the challenges of living without them. As I checked on my boys sleeping peacefully in their beds later that evening, I was reminded of how lucky I have been to have my own family and support network.
Usually I would end my post with some related reading, but as I did not participate in the group assignment when instructed, I would like to take this time to complete my homework. In addition to the gratitude I feel towards the support my family and friends have given me, I would also like to express my thanks to a few of my fellow author/bloggers celebrating their own big news this month for unknowingly inspiring, motivating, and/or helping to guide me through the publishing process.
Listed in no particular order –
- Shannon Thompson, author of Seconds Before Sunrise, book two of the Timely Death Trilogy. Her novel launches March 27th and is available now for pre-sale.
- Kristen Pham, author of Knights of Light, book two of the Conjurors Series. Her newest addition was released on March 10th.
- Michelle Prolux, author of Imminent Danger And How to Fly Straight into It, who just finished her initial rewrite of its sequel, Chasing Nonconformity
- N.W. Harris, author of the Joshua’s Tree Trilogy, received a 5 star review from Readers Favorite this month for the first novel in the series entitled, Joshua’s Tree .