A Writer’s Life

Writing is something I love. I will always love it. But loving to do something doesn’t make it always easy. I am not a full time writer yet. I still have a day job, and a hectic family life. I’ve dealt with oodles of chaos on a personal level over the past year. That chaos has not helped my writing. Lately, I’ve been playing catch up. I’ve got a list of recommended edits I’ve been trying to work into my finished product. I get started and something comes along to take me out of it. But today, I think I finally might be done. I have to read through the finished product again, which requires I wait a day or two so my eyes are clear. After that I will send it back to my agent, and the editor I’m working with, and see what they think. Hopefully, with a little luck, we’ll get this one sold this year. 🙂

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Goodbye 2017, Welcome 2018!

2017 started out seemingly determined to take me down. January of this year started with getting my son into residential treatment for drug addiction. We got him into one, only to have him walk away a few days later. He was hospitalized a few days after that, and then walked away again. We struggled to find other options.

In February, while a heavy snowstorm was settling over our valley, we gave him the choice of going back to treatment or finding somewhere else to live. He chose to leave. I have never experienced a heartbreak like I did that night. There is nothing natural as a mom to tell your child to leave, especially when you know they are suffering.

He spent a month being homeless before giving in to treatment, and while in RTC he did well. It wasn’t too long after getting out that he relapsed and became homeless again. I dreaded what I knew can be a continuous cycle of watching someone battle addiction. I kept working with my therapist, and occasionally had contact with my son going into the summer.

In the middle of the night, one night at the end of June, he came to the house to let us know he was going back to treatment. He’d reached out to someone from his previous treatment program, and was asking for a ride there in the morning. After we agreed he left, and was back the next day, just like he said he would be. I dropped him off in the morning and I went to work, hoping that maybe in this case, the fourth time would be a charm.

And so far, it has.

So, while I started my 2017 fearful I would lose my son to the national addiction crisis, I’m ending my 2017 watching him fully embrace his recovery. He’s got a job he likes, he’s moved back home this month, and on Christmas eve he picked up his six-month chip. It was the best Christmas gift ever.

While in the process of getting my son into recovery, I started my own recovery. Nothing that we had to do was easy, but I put my trust in an amazing therapist who had been in this same position before. I took her advice as my only option, the only way out, and let myself learn some valuable lessons in the meantime.

I learned this year that it’s ok to say no. It’s ok to not do what you may feel obligated to do. It doesn’t make you a bad person to step back from others, and take care of yourself for a little bit. Or for a long bit. I also let it sink in that where I was with my son, where he was in his own life, was not my fault. We didn’t get here because I was a bad mom. My son has grown up being the center of my world, and he is loved. And he knows, hopefully more so now, how much he is loved. Addiction doesn’t discriminate.

My catchphrase for 2017 became ‘Boundaries!’ and I shared that lesson with anyone who would listen. To have those boundaries in your life – what you will do, what you won’t do, and a clear idea of both – is so much easier said than done. Trust me, none of this was easy. There were a lot of tears. There was a lot of anger, a lot of guilt, and after all of that some more tears.

There was also a lot of reflection in 2017, and in the end, I was able to find a piece of myself I didn’t know existed. A strength that I was not convinced I had until I was challenged to find it. It doesn’t just make for good Pinterest quotes. It really is amazing what you can do once you realize how strong you really are. It’s something I plan on exploring more as we move into 2018.

And my New Year wish for all of you in 2018 is the same thing. I wish all of you the opportunity to explore your inner strength. Explore setting boundaries for yourself that give you the happiest version of your life you can have. I wish you the strength to conquer any pesky demons, and I wish you the confidence to take on any new challenge that may come your way. Find out just how strong you can be in 2018.  <3

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Crazy Cat Lady; The Queen and Her People

After our abusive roommate moved out my son didn’t wait long to ask for another cat. An August evening in 2003 I gave in, and we went to the local Humane Society instead of karate class to pick out a new cat. Being a shelter there were dozens of cats and kittens for us to look at but Alexandre zeroed in on three in particular, and I knew we were in trouble. Again. 

His choices were split between a tiny, black and white tuxedo kitten in a cage by herself, and two sickly looking brothers with goopy eyes. The brothers were ruled out because I was not willing to take home two long haired kittens and Alexandre was not willing to separate brothers. That left us with the tiny tuxedo. 

The tiny tuxedo was being handled by another girl and was quickly returned for biting, so Alexandre scooped her up. We took her into one of the socializing rooms and she immediately tried to escape. He managed to wrangle her for a few minutes but you wouldn’t have described her as cuddly. I pointed out that some of the other kittens were more friendly, but his mind was made up.

Sasha the night we brought her home. The flash made her cross-eyed!

“If we don’t take her no one else will, mom.” and I knew he was probably right. She was a deamon. 

He named her Sasha and for the next several years she made her rule of our house known. She declared my bed hers, the couch hers, and demanded to drink water from her own cup. We brought in dogs – first a rowdy Jack Russell, then a rough-and-tumble Schnauzer, and last a Chihuahua/Italian Greyhound mix. Sasha maintained her alpha status, and her early years were her mean teen years. 

Sasha letting Annie know she had to sleep somewhere else.

  Then she turned 10 and we moved to a new house. I’m not sure what changed in her but she stopped biting my ankles in the dark and started hanging out with her humans. She begs for cuddles and she begs for people food – especially if it’s salty or carbs. She loves garlic bread, licking green olives, and has gotten pushy enough she’ll grab my hand, or my plate, if I’m not sharing fast enough. But she’s a lot more loving while she does it.

Sasha enjoying some green olives.

Sasha is still the Queen, and she hasn’t let the dogs forget their place, but she’s much closer to those cuddly kittens I tried to talk my son into bringing home in 2003. I can’t say she is as good of a cat as Sebastian was. He was the King of Cats. But Sasha has taken her place in my heart.

The Queen in ‘her’ bed.

Sasha letting Annie know it is her ball now.

Sasha woke me up before sunrise and wouldn’t let me go back to sleep until I put a cup of water in the tub for her highness.

 

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