Monday, July 29, 2013

Thoughts On a Third Child

There is something sacred about the demands of a newborn.

In my church, young people can choose to devote eighteen-months or two years of their lives to living in some new part of the world, talking to people, doing service, and spreading the message of Christ to anyone who wants to hear it. Missionaries follow strict rules. They wake up early. They go to bed on time. They wear certain clothes, they don’t listen to music or go to movies, they pursue almost no leisure, and they communicate with their families only via writing, save Christmas and Mother’s Day. They put everything else—relationships, schooling, work—on hold.

It’s a time of sacrifice, of dedication. Of committing to something bigger, something that does not revolve around yourself and your own needs. I’ve often wondered what that would have been like, but these last few weeks I’ve realized I already know. In the tender dark hours of the night, holding a baby to my chest, soothing his cries and filling his tiny belly, I have no illusions. I have done this twice before. For the next few years, his needs are my life.

My first two beautiful children were different. I was so young with our daughter. I spent most of the hours frantic, starting with when we brought her home from the hospital and I stared down at her, terrified. What had we done? I didn't know how to take care of a baby!

Then we welcomed our son two years later, and everything was colored with exhaustion so deep I couldn’t do anything but make sure my two little ones had everything they needed and were surrounded with love, and then try my best to survive.

This time, I know how quickly that seemingly endless stretch of time actually goes. The whole goal of motherhood is to raise children like mine—happy, healthy, increasingly independent little people. But that’s the catch, because now I really can’t be everything they need. There are things that make them sad, that hurt their tender hearts, that I can’t do anything about. I can’t fix it. I can only try to help them along the way to figuring out how to feel better. It is the worst part of motherhood, knowing that your children move beyond your ability to keep them absolutely safe, and also the best part of motherhood, watching the people they become as they stretch and grow beyond you.

But this tiny new life? I can still fill every need he has. I hold him close. I rock him. I sing an infinite loop of Baby Beluga. I could sing it in my sleep. I think I occasionally do, passed out at 3 AM holding him in the rocking chair.

Sometimes I feel claustrophobia setting in. I find myself researching exotic vacations we will not take. Looking at listings for homes I don’t want to buy. I am on a two-hour leash, tied by my very body to this absurd, beautiful little creature that grew inside of it.

And then I remember how very short this eternity-of-infancy really is.

So when he is sleeping, and when he is awake, we gather around and stare at him, marveling over this little boy who has joined our family and changed it forever. And I am overwhelmed with gratitude that I get to devote the next few years of my life to him. A marvelous sacrifice that really isn’t any sacrifice at all.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Bucket List Win

(I suck, but the winner of the Transparent contest has been contacted. Finally. This is why I don't do many contests--it makes me feel like a terrible person. Which I am, so. There will be another contest for ARCs at the end of the month, though!)

I had a few items on my publishing bucket list. One was to, you know, actually get published. (CHECK!) Another was to someday, eventually, have a shelf with foreign editions of my books. Thanks to Paranormalcy, I've actually filled an entire shelf and need more space!

But along with that foreign editions dream was a more specific one. I wanted to sell Japanese rights, and I wanted to get a seriously awesome Japanese cover. So you can imagine my absolute giddy joy when I came across this the other day:



I cannot even tell you how much I love this cover. The artist, Hiroki Kusumoto, captured the book in such an incredibly fun style. I want a poster of this for my wall. Heck, I want this as my ENTIRE wall. Huge thanks to my Japanese publisher, Villagebooks, for making this happy dream come true! (And to the awesome tumblr Blue Willow for finding the cover and posting it.)

There are a lot of moments where this whole author thing feels very normal. I don't think about it, because it is part of my life now and has been for a few years. But then there are moments when I am hit with how amazing my journey has been, and how fortunate I am to be able to do what I love and find so many amazing readers in so many countries. It's a bit overwhelming, to be honest. Even though my job is expressing things with the written word, sometimes there's just no way to adequately capture a feeling.

So I'll speak for Evie and just say, BLEEP YEAH. THANK YOU.