Ruminating on 2018

As the year comes to a close, it invites reflection. What did I accomplish? What do I regret? How did I grow?

Ruminating on 2018

Accomplishments and Growth

In comparison to 2017, I can honestly say that I’ve been in a much better mental place. I still miss my dad–and I always will–but time and new experiences have offered their salve.

  • Writing, both journaling and the three novels I’ve been readying for release,
  • Drawing, whether little doodles or letter art or sitting down with my sketchpad,
  • Language learning, because Duolingo is awesome (Spanish and Hindi for now)
  • Reading, especially to the munchkins but also some great series I’ve discovered,
  • Gratitude practice, which I can’t recommend highly enough, and
  • Exercising, from HIIT to yoga, barre to Zumba,

These activities have all helped changed my perspective, keep me busy, and bring different kinds of joy. An analogy that really resonated with me was that grief or loss is like a bubble of a fixed size in the ever-expanding bowl of our life experience. As additional bubbles fill the bowl, the loss bubble doesn’t get smaller, but its proportion in comparison to our life experiences starts to shrink. I think we also get used to the new normal of not being able to share the new experiences of life with our lost loved one. Regardless, it still sucks and the strangest moments remind me of my dad, but I don’t want to dissolve into a puddle of helpless tears at every juncture.

The kids are also more independent and conversant, so it’s fun to see the thoughts coming out of their heads and to play games with them that I genuinely enjoy too. Their personalities are so different, and their capacity to learn and to help and to love brings such satisfaction to my lifelong wish to be a mother. Whether cooking with T or folding laundry with D, we find ways to work together productively and teach each other life skills. T’s love for science, D’s for cuddles, and both of theirs for having someone lavish attention on them warms my heart.

Growth as a writer? Not that you’ll notice since I haven’t released anything, but my writing provides better description and pacing than before. I’m conscious of active word choices and I’ve developed a draft-edit-complete method that really works for me. It helped me speed through Book 2 and is going to help me wrap up Book 3 at pace.

Regrets for 2018?

Can one have regrets without having regrets? Because while there are things I would like to have finished (ahem, release Sea Dreams), I do know that the delay will benefit the book’s quality. Finding time to finish the first draft of Book 3, Sea Treasures, has been a struggle despite having taken time off for medical stuff.

After surgery in mid-November to remove what turned out to be a benign liver cyst, it took rather longer than I anticipated to get back on my feet. Work stuff took priority, and then we had family travel plans thereafter. I’ve really tried to be present for the time I spend with the family, to make the best memories I can, so I can’t regret that choice. All of these activities translated to limited writing time in the last quarter of the year, inevitably delaying the release of Book 1.

The delays in the writing also paid off: I found more beta readers who were willing to share their feedback, and the slow pace of my draft have resulted in some quality writing that should (hopefully) require less editing time. I’ve also updated some things in Book 1 to make more sense and add consistency to the series.

Looking Forward

I’ll be discussing resolutions for 2019 in my next post, but obviously the first three books of Sea Deception will be released in 2019.

Previous Posts

2017 2016

Unexpected Weekend Plans and a Public Service Announcement

Last week I was talking to a coworker about the unexciting plans I had for Friday night, which involved, in their entirety, cooking a simple dinner for K, Munchkin, and me. We laughed about how “exciting” Friday was going to be.

Fast forward a few hours and I’m dialing Poison Control

Admittedly, this is as much a “bad parenting” confession as it is a PSA. But when a toddler is screaming when you take away her “Elmo,” which is not what you think it is, you try not to aggravate her within the realm of activities you deem safe.

Munchkin, who is perpetually teething, has a fascination with holding small bottles and tubes. They fit in her little hand and are less inclined to make a mess than yesterday’s “mahtto,” the homegrown tomato she carried up the stairs and tried to squish all over my white carpeting.  I don’t usually fight with her if she wants to carry them around.  And yes, we own lots of toys, encourage her to cuddle up to her actual loveys, and have learned repeatedly that the really expensive toy is much less interesting to her than the box it arrived in.  She’s actually taken naps clutching baby toothpaste (she calls it “Elmo” since his face is on the tube), the tinted Vitamin D bottle, or the homeopathic teething tabs.

You know where this is headed. K is playing with Munchkin while I’m being Productive Homemaker Mommy cooking dinner and turns away for just a moment.  Next he’s back and panicking.  “I think she ate a whole bunch of teething tabs!”

As Not-Stressed Mommy, I calmly ask how many. After all, I’d brought him the bottle and knew when I handed it to him that it was no more than a quarter to a third full.  And he’s shaking the bottle now, and it’s still not empty.  And they’re homeopathic, so it’s not like she’s got her hands on my prescription meds.  I’d be Panicked-Hysterical Mommy.

But I was able to be Prepared Mommy and calmly selected Poison Control from my phone’s address book and detailed the problem to an awesome representative not a minute later. She knew the product I referred to and had all kinds of useful information at hand.  Apparently some kids have downed the full bottle of homeopathic teething tabs before with no ill effects.  I was advised to fill Munchkin’s belly with some food and to expect some caffeine-like effects, including possible pupil dilation, and obviously to take further action if she exhibited worrisome symptoms.

I’m glad to report Munchkin is fine. But I encourage all of you to add the Poison Control number, 1-800-222-1222, to your speed dial.  I didn’t experience hold times or confusion and found the representative very helpful and well-informed.

Of course, K and I let Munchkin play with a closed bottle and she was able to overcome its childproof features. You can bet we’re extra-vigilant about any of the small bottles she clutches, tantrum or no.

What’s your worst or guiltiest parenting decision?