Under the coffee table, next to a stack of books I hope to read and a college-rule notebook filled with a list of submissions and rejections from various publishers and agents, sits a piece of lined paper with scraggly edges. At the top, my daughter wrote this (verbatim):
book IDEAS for my mom
~about how your kids make you feel like you Live in a fairytale
~about your husband makes you feel like your a queen
~your husband and you rule your fairytale
~ your husband is your King
While I question some of her theories on my “fairytail” life and the whole “husband is king” pronouncement, I adore the fact that she snuck away to a corner in her room and scribbled this list. I find lists like this all over the house. Lists of my girl’s favorites, her ideas, her dreams, or the name of the paint on her bedroom wall. I want to encourage that kind of dreaming, the everyday kind, where the biggest thing on the list might be the outfit she plans to rock tomorrow. I also want to encourage the kind of dreaming that believes that no matter how many rejections one receives, there is still room for something new. There is still room for hope.
It’s no secret around my house that I’m a struggling writer, that I rack up rejections like my teenager racks up text messages. It’s bordering on ridiculous. But every so often, when the stars align and the moon is a waxing crescent and the sun remembers she’s meant to shine–God takes pity on my poor writer’s soul, and I receive a “yes”.
The “yes’s” used to keep me going, like a giant gulp of fresh air before a deep dive into the abyss that is publication. But, more than a yes, more than seeing my name in print, or having readers engage with my writing, is the fresh air I receive from “Book Ideas for my Mom”. I want to prove to my children that there is worth in pursuing the hard things–worth in engaging the seemingly impossible, and saying yes to myself anyway. Yes, I will continue to work even when the reward is small and the work goes unnoticed. Yes, there are disappointments. Yes, I am the queen of my kingdom, and it will not always look like a fairytale. Sometimes it is a mystery, a tragedy, a comedy of errors. But it is a story, a good story, and with the help of my little people, I am telling it.
What kind of ordinary gifts are you finding today?