Where Ladybugs Roar

Confessions and Passions of a Compulsive Writer

Thursday, May 5, 2011

On this my thirty-fifth birthday....

I expected to be depressed today. Not because I'm growing older. Growing older feels like a right and a privilege. I've lived long enough to live... so why not earn some wrinkles? It's that number. Thirty-five. Ever since I was a girl, I'd planned on two things: to be a mother to five kids and to be done with that by thirty-five.... because thirty-five is the age when you get extra tests when you're pregnant. Most of you know that our risk of Autism in a third child is so high that my husband doesn't feel right about having more kids. (I waffle between agreeing with him.) The fact that I've had and continue to have miscarriages (despite taking precautions) just really twists the knife on this.

So, as this day approached, I expected this feeling of dread to continue to build and to be depressed today. I expected to just want to crawl into a corner and wait for this day to go by.

As I was driving up the hill into our neighborhood after dropping off the kids... our SUV was chugging a bit and I thought, "Today... I'm so thankful for this car. Thank you, God, for this car and that it's running." I thought of the two booster seats behind me. "Thank you, God, for the two kids that I have... and that T didn't fight me on going to school or wearing different shoes because his had mud all over them. Thank you for B who made her brother breakfast this morning. Thank you, God, for my husband... who has gone to work all these years without complaint to support us... and for the fact that he has supported everything I've ever chosen to do... from painting to writing to staying home."

On this my thirty-fifth birthday, I have a lot to be grateful for. I have a lot that I'm grateful I've lived to see. I expected to wake up and feel the loss of what I can't have today... and, instead, I feel so incredibly grateful for what I do.

Life is too short to wrap yourself in grief and let it rush by you. It's too amazing to wish it away. It's a breath. A heartbeat. A dream. And then the moments are gone and you wish you'd done something more than let them pass while you were busy regretting them.

On this my thirty-fifth birthday, I'm grateful to be thirty-five.

I really am.

Anyway, I'm going to work on Promises of Light and Dark today because that sounds like a nice way to spend the morning while my kids are at school. I finished my read-through of Secrets which helped me nail down the voice quirks and I started revision on Promises Tuesday night. Every so often when I'm writing a book I have this refrain in the back of my head: "I hope this works... I hope this works... I hope this works..." as I'm writing. It's not until the revision and I'm reading and the story rises out of the words that I can tell that it's actually working.

I was in a pretty good mood for a lot of yesterday because of that. There's a bit of a "hot damn, it's working" feeling... which... I swear, Mom, the profanity is justified here. Writing is sometimes like magic that you're afraid if you squeeze it too hard, it'll die. It feels like a tightrope between just enough words doing hard work at description and filling in the spots that need them and not too many words conveying emotions. So, when it works... and you can see and feel what's going on in a story... it's very "hot damn." I got that feeling about two pages into Promises and it was a relief and a bit exhilarating. I didn't want to slow down on reading to do revision. Nobody but me has read it yet, so we'll see if that feeling continues. Still... it works! *shakes you* It works! I'm not a hack! Not today!

So that's how I'm spending my Thursday and some of my birthday. Happy Cinco De Mayo!


  1. Good work and Happy Birthday! My 33rd is in exactly one month and I know how you feel on all counts. Hope you have a great day! Keep plugging along.

  2. Great gratitude :) I have a gratitude list on my blog. I need to update it. Happy Birthday!

  3. Happy Birthday Wendy. Thirty five was kind of hard for me - mostly because I'm finding more and more gray hairs. But mostly I'm happy with my life too. Here's to 35.

  4. Happy Birthday, Wendy!! You know, you have a talent for making me cry and laugh all in the same post. This was beautiful. And I hope your birthday is a "hot damn" kind of day. ;) (Wendy's Mom, the profanity is justified here too. Heehee)
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  5. Happy Birthday! 35 is soooo young (yup, I'm quite a bit older than that). Enjoy the day.

  6. Happy Birthday!!! Isn't May an AWESOME month? (My birthday is coming soon, lol.)

  7. Happy Birthday! You have an amazing attitude that's contagious. Best wishes for the next 35+!

  8. I'm a little late but happy birthday and thanks for the great post. I think we could all use an attitude of gratitude in our live. :) Thanks for this!

  9. Ack! I missed your bday! Well, happy belated one anyway...hope it was great!!! :D (And now that I'm 35 and pregnant... my new cut-off age is 38. I'm convincing myself 35 isn't so bad.)

  10. I hope you had a great birthday. Sorry I'm late. This is a beautiful post, and you're so right to think of the good things.