A few weeks back I posted a fairly cryptic post on Facebook and said I would explain it all later. Well, it is later. And I HATE cryptic Facebook posts, don’t you? I mean, either explain it or keep that to yourself, right? I KNOW! So…here goes.
Many, MANY changes have taken place in my personal life lately and many, many changes are likely to happen in the future. The first and most important of which have to do with my children. My son, Noah, is going off to college in the fall – woohoo!! I am so excited for this time in his life. Since he was very young he has always been somewhat of an academic (read: nerd) and I have had a gut instinct that this kid would not only LOVE college, but flourish and thrive there. I will not be shocked if he never leaves the world of academia and education. I may be wrong, but I am pretty sure I am not – call it mother’s intuition. So, one kid on his way into the world and this Mama is EXCITED for him. Plus he is only an hour away and this Mama LOVES that part. Thank goodness for the homebody in my son. 🙂
Onto Sophie. Sophie has had a very difficult year this year. I watched as I saw her ever glowing light of sunshine dim this past year and it broke my heart. There was a terrible tragedy of a suicide of one of her friends early last school year and it affected her tremendously. It was one terrible event that began what seemed a string of things that came one after another. Being 15 is a rough time for any young kid and Sophie had her share of extra things happen. Luckily, she and I are very open and we talked, got her into therapy and she fought hard to come out of it all. She struggled with some grades, made some more mistakes along the way, but ended her year on an extremely positive note. She had to crawl her way out of a very deep hole she was in – a hole she fell in and then made deeper on her own. But she did it – and I really, truly cannot be more proud of her. Sophie chose to begin living with me and her step-dad in April due to various reasons. To explain this situation very quickly – I left and subsequently divorced my children’s dad when they were 6 and 8 years old. Since that time we have shared custody of our kids. They stay a week with me and stay a week with their dad. We have done that for the past 10 years very, very consistently. So Sophie living with me full time is a very big deal. I have not had either of my kids full time in 10 years. As anyone can imagine, this has been hard for her father. Sophie and her dad are having a hard time, but I hope that in the next few months they will work through this. But it is hard on Sophie and I hate that for her.
Another thing going on is that my husband is in the Navy Reserve. He is training full time in Augusta right now for the entire month of June. After that training is done? He will be eligible for deployment. As in, leave the country. For anywhere from 6 months to a year. Likely destinations include the horn of Africa and Afghanistan. This can happen as early as January 2015. Um. Yeah. Kinda rethinking my whole “Honey! Join the Navy Reserves! Follow your passion! You want this! GO FOR IT!” speech many years back. Who in the HECK would have thought he’d end up in the Middle East for pete’s sake!!?? But it IS his passion. And he LOVES it. So I will be proud of him, support him and then not breath for 6-12 months if he gets deployed there.
Which brings me to this point. For the past three years, my family has been the most amazing, supportive three people you could ever want. I have traveled every other week for three years visiting schools and empowering children to believe in their visions and their dreams. My husband and children have selflessly shared me with all the awesome kids in this awesome country. There were times I missed important events for my children and my husband – pretty big deal stuff at times. And not once, NOT ONE TIME, did they ever, ever make me feel bad. They always told me what I was doing was important and they believed in my mission and understood. I could not have a better support system. And man, oh man, do I adore my three people more than life itself.
But now? They need me. My daughter needs a full time mom. My husband needs someone here when he gets deployed as well as a full time wife in the months before he may get deployed. My son will be at college, but it will be nice knowing that I am an hour away if he does need me.
I had my entire fall booked solid. I had six weeks of visits all planned. I wrestled with the decision I knew I needed to make. I hate letting people down and I hate not honoring commitments even more. But my choice is clear. I need to be HOME this year. I simply cannot travel.
I contacted the six women that had booked me – many of which had already made plans and commitments with many, many schools and told them my situation. The outpouring of love and understanding brought me to tears email after email. I am not sure why I was surprised. They are all moms. They got it. But still, their responses were like hugs – email after email. And I so needed that.
I am still so sad about the children I will miss talking to – the ones that I know NEED to hear my message. I will do visits here in Georgia, but my heart will ache for the children I will never get to meet.
I know that things all happen for a reason though. There have been many things I have wanted to do with my career that I simply have not been able to focus on with all my travel. One I just recently started was Storytime LIVE. It is a 25 minute story time I do almost every Wednesday at 7:30pm. It is still in its infancy and I am still figuring it all out, but I see big things and big potential for that. I want to do my presentation on it from time to time so that I can help spread my message of following your dreams – so I am excited to see where that can go. I am also going to continue making books. Picture books for sure – they are my love, but I am beginning a chapter book this summer. And since that scares the ever loving you-know-what out of me? I know it is exactly the book I am supposed to write.
So there you have it. The only thing you can count on in life is change. And boy howdy did life throw a whole bunch of change at me all at once. But I will say this, I love change. I have always loved the not knowing of what a new day may bring – routine and monotony is not my thing. So while I am sad that a certain part of my life is temporarily stopping, I am so very eager to see what awaits this new chapter in my life. I feel good things about it – really, really good.
And to the amazing women (and not just the 6, but your entire Usborne Books and More Team that were all affected by this decision) THANK YOU. Thank you for your love, your understanding and support of another Mama needing to be there for her family. I have said this many, many times, but I still cannot say it enough: I adore my publisher and the team of sales consultants so very, very much. They are so much more than a company – they are a family. And when you took me in 3 years ago as one of your own? You changed my life and made it more MAGICAL than I could ever have imagined. I will repay that with as many books as I can write for you all. Thank you from the depths of my soul, thank you.