So I just finished my first real book.
Not that the fourteen before were not real, but they were “How to” youth ministry books. Fun ideas, tricks of the trade. How to be a good small group leader.
This one was about faith and life. And it took eight months, seventeen hours, and forty nine minutes of labor to produce it. (But who’s counting)
I always dreamed of writing a book. I pictured myself on a beach in a lounge chair with my laptop and a fruity drink, staring at the sea and lulling my thoughts onto the screen.
There was no lulling involved here. There was hair pulling, sleepless nights, and endless hours rewriting the same word seventeen ways.
Suffice to say, it was not the romantic dream I had in my mind.
It was a lot of work. Amazing work. Incredible work. But WORK.
My husband was walking down the street in Santa Barbara behind a girl who was talking to her friend on her cell phone. He heard her say “I just want to quit my job and go down to the beach and write a book!”
Wearing a dirty shirt and starved because his wife hasn’t fed him or washed his clothes in two weeks, my husband grabbed her, threw her to the ground and said, “DON’T DO IT!!!!!”
(maybe it didn’t quite happen that way).
But he did have a huge thought bubble over his head that said:
“You have no idea what you are saying.”
Dreams, even when they come true, are a lot harder than we think. It’s the hard part we’d like to avoid. And yet, in some mysterious way, that’s what makes them what they are.
I know this in marriage. Because God delivered late in life, it was my blessing to become a wife and a mom on the very same day. The wife part I was down for, totally and completely. The mom part was an added bonus that I was completely thrilled about (and totally unprepared for). Most moms have their kids, and get used to them over time. Mine was delivered to me at age 6.
I remember when my step son’s mom moved to Australia, and I came to the realization that he was going to be living with us all the time. It sounds funny, but as a former single woman, this is a big adjustment. No matter how long I’d stay with my nieces and nephews, or any other children for that matter, at the end of the day, those kids go home. This little guy WAS home. The first couple weeks I remember coming into the living room saying “Oh, you’re still here!” (Thankfully I never said it out loud.)
I remember saying to my friends who had multiple children while I was single and traveling the country, “So this is what you were doing all that time!”
You don’t really get the time consumption aspect of parenting until you are a parent.
It is without a doubt, the hardest- and most amazing- thing I’ve ever done. And I just have one. I bow to the Jen Hatmakers of the world who have 3 and adopt 2 more from another country and still have time to write books.
However, I am getting better at doing one child.
I cook, I clean, I cuddle. I put band aids on skinned knees. I kiss tear stained cheeks. I even disguise vegetables.
And in the meantime, I thank God for the gift that I was given to be a part of something so miraculous. To help this little boy become all he’s meant to be.
So now, I feel sort of the same about this book. (Except just to be clear, my book is an inanimate object and I love my step-son more).
And doggone it, I am proud.
As it turns out, the dream came close to being very dreamlike. However I am left with a few more grey hairs to remind me that the best things in life don’t come easy.
The best things in life leave us changed.