Paper, Pen, and Chocolate
“Mom!” a voice yelled from the other room. “Make her stop!”
“I didn’t do anything!” another voice yelled before I could even get up to see what was going on.
I sighed and struggled to get off the couch where I had just started writing a scene. Four months pregnant with our sixth child and the varicose veins were already causing problems for me. I wondered where my husband was hiding that he couldn’t handle this.
Fortunately, the yelling quieted down. Instead of checking on them, I made an Executive Decision. I snuck into my closet, grabbed some Hershey’s chocolate from my stash, and slipped into the bathroom where I ate it with the lights turned off. Nobody would find me there.
Flicking on my flashlight, I took out the notepad and pen I had stashed in the magazine rack and wrote down some thoughts on the scene I had been writing.
The quiet lasted 3.5 minutes. Then my time in the bathroom was up. I crept back out to the living room where I settled a new argument, secretly wishing I could go back to the bathroom.
Now, you may ask…Married with how many kids? And you write books? WHY? HOW? Let me tell you.
From the time I was a little girl, I have had two dreams. One: To have a large family. Two: To be an author. There was a time not long ago when it seemed neither would come true.
Maybe it was being an only child that allowed my imagination to run wild and my mind to create stories; it definitely made me wish for a big family of my own. It’s lonely to grow up without a sibling.
In school, writing was my passion. I wrote constantly. I’d slip my story under a notebook in class and when I was supposed to be taking notes, I’d really be writing my story. At night when I was supposed to be asleep, I’d hide under the covers in bed with a flashlight, pen, and paper.
Time went on, and although I had many stories written, I was too chicken to do anything with them. So, they sat. When I fell in love and started a family, writing got pushed to the side. Sure, I still loved it, but I never had time. Deep down, I was mad at myself for not at least trying to do something with them. But, at the time, I felt I couldn’t. Family came first.
My dream of having a large family wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, but it had begun to come true. We had two beautiful little girls and wanted more. Unfortunately, I suffered through many miscarriages over the years. After having a number of tests done, I was diagnosed with a blood disorder so complicated that I have no idea what it actually is except that it can cause miscarriages. Getting pregnant had never been an issue; staying pregnant was. When I didn’t get and stay pregnant for over a year, the depression got worse.
Losing a baby is a devastating thing to go through; losing six is downright depressing. There’s no amount of crying, begging, negotiating, or praying that brings them back. Believe me, I tried it all. It didn’t matter how many people told me it wasn’t my fault–I blamed myself anyway. Finding out that it was due to a blood disorder made my guilt that much worse. It was my fault. My body’s fault anyway. Then I started asking myself: Why do some of my babies live and others don’t? What did I do different? I had children before I started medication for the disorder, and I’ve had miscarriages since getting on the medication. None of it makes sense and it’s still something I struggle to understand. I was in such a deep depression; it was like my creative button had been turned off. I had no desire to write.
When we finally “gave up” and decided that we’d be a family of six, we found out I was pregnant again with our fifth daughter.
This pregnancy was much harder on my body than the others. I found myself on the couch most of the day with my legs up. It was around this time that some online friends found out that I loved to write and encouraged me to share my stories. I did so nervously and they loved them! I reached deep down and found the courage to start submitting queries to agents. Each time my hopes were smashed to pieces.
My husband started talking about eBooks and self-publishing. I wasn’t too sure about going that route. I wanted to see my books in print, so I could hold them in front of my face. I wanted to smell my book. But, as time went on, eReaders became more popular and I figured…why not?
So, here I am, with five children, trying to find the time to write, while juggling mom-duty, wife-duty, household chores, errands, and more. During the earlier part of this year, you could find me up until the wee hours of the morning writing. You see, that is the only time it’s quiet enough to get anything done. Three a.m. is the time when all little girls are sleeping, the husband is snoring away, and my mind is clear. I can throw myself into a character’s psyche and let my imagination flow.
Everything was going perfectly. I was getting a lot of writing done and then we got a surprise. Baby #6 was on the way.
As happy as we were, this put a serious damper on staying up until three a.m. I just couldn’t do it. My one-year-old is at the age where she needs to be followed around and supervised constantly. If I don’t, I find my computer monitor has become a coloring book.
My four-year-old is in between the “play with me” stage and the “playing alone” stage. The older three are in school, which provides a break for me, but since my four year old adores her older sisters, it makes it hard. She’s constantly whining for them to come home.
It’s hard enough juggling the four younger ones, but throw in a hormonal teenager and chaos ensues. Dealing with her has made me positive that my mother cursed me for acting out as a teenager. Not a week goes by that I don’t find myself in tears over something she does or says. Like the time recently when I told her I was pregnant again, she made nasty comments accusing me of ruining her life. Or the time I had to punish her for kicking her sister, and she informed us that she could run away and be adopted by her friend’s parents.
I’m sure you find yourself wanting to ask how I get a minute to myself. Or how do I deal with no time alone? Or what if I get an idea during the day?
Remember that stash of chocolate in the closet? I simply get some, slip into the bathroom, and take a few minutes. Sometimes I just think. Sometimes I jot down a few ideas on that hidden notepad.
As crazy and chaotic my life is, I wouldn’t change a thing. And it sure gives me plenty of things to write about.
So, when life hands you lemons…toss them out, grab your stash of chocolate, your writing materials, and head for the bathroom. You may just end up writing a book.