Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Big Year

It's been a big year.

I was looking at several people's "Looking Back" posts that Facebook generated, and did one of my own. Looking at that, it looked like the members of our family each had a birthday, Madison had a dance recital and Adam and I celebrated our tenth anniversary. It's been a great year! Thanks for being a part of it!

It was a great year. Those things did happen, and those life events were great.

But in reality, our year was so much bigger than that. It really was.

I was in four books this year. Four.

I had to let that sink in. A year ago I was reviewing anthologies. Just reading and reviewing, thinking how amazing it must be to see your words in print. Not just on the internet, but in an actual paper book that you can hold in your hands.

Since March, I have held four such books in my hands. Books that have my byline printed in them.

How crazy is that?

First, Jen Mann took a shot on me based on nothing but my enthusiasm for her work. And suddenly, the battle for our master bathroom was in I Just Want to Be Alone, nestled in with some of the funniest bloggers out there.

Then I was absolutely honored to have my submission accepted to the second book in the HerStories project. My Other Ex isn't funny. It's raw, it's real and it's powerful. I got to write about snippets in my life that I edit out of most conversations and I could not be prouder to have my words included in this story.

Proving that Adam is a much bigger part of my writing than he'd ever claim credit for, another story centered around him was included in Clash of the Couples. Not many people know that the internet nearly sabotaged our engagement in 2003, but it did. And I got to tell that story.

And knowing that the girls got me started on this whole writing journey with their antics, I had a piece appear in a book about kids and their (non)sleeping adventures called Motherhood: May Cause Drowsiness

And my Facebook look back didn't think to mention this? I think that's a pretty big year.

Madison finished a year of preschool and she and I started on a homeschooling journey. She went from the stubborn Minnie Mouse who wouldn't perform in the recital because she wasn't standing in the right spot, to the youngest member of her dance competition team. Spins around like crazy in my kitchen, works hard in three hours of intense dance class a week. She learned to swim this year. She learned tennis. She learned to read.

Facebook only mentioned she turned four, but clearly, her year was so much more than that.

Reagan went from a late talker to a little sister who sings Taylor Swift and the songs from the Barbie movies and Kidz Bop and loves to chat with anyone who will listen. She went from being glued to my side to a kid who can't wait to follow in Madison's footsteps. She weathered a tonsillectomy.

A third of her life is a big year. The last of her baby has been vanishing, leaving me with only a few shreds to cling to before she's steadfastly in big kid territory. She's still stubborn, but she's really growing up. Her year was so much more than merely turning two.

2014 is the year I really felt like a writer. It's the year I became a homeschooling mom, a dance mom. It's the year I started really investing in myself as a blogger and putting myself out there. I went to conferences. I partnered with brands in a big way. I got paid in actual money for my writing - nothing that will set the world on fire, but some sort of validation that my words have value in more ways that one. I found a tribe of writers who support me when I'm overwhelmed and cheer for me when I find those moments of success. It's the year I discovered that a gym with childcare can be everything. It's the year when I finally admitted that it's important for me to be me, and I hired a sitter so I could play tennis and go to Starbucks and write - guilt free.

For those of you who have been with me this whole big year - a huge thank you. Thank you for laughing with me, worrying with me, and backing me up. Thank you for buying these books and getting just as excited as I was. Thank you for following me all over social media, subscribing to my posts, reading my words, and sharing them.

I can't imagine that 2015 could be a bigger year, but I'm excited to find out.

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