I once believed I was the one person in the universe whom Sherrilyn Kenyon didn't like. I mean, she's renoun for being, like, the nicest woman in romance by reader fans and collegues alike. Turns out our wires were crossed; she really wasn't avoiding me. Phew.
Sherri, as her millions of friends call her, has two novels out currently, the paperback issue of "Dark Side of the Moon," (St. Martin's) out today, and Kinley MacGregor's "Knight of Darkness," (Avon) which I'll feature next week on RBtheBook. Won 't you please join me in wishing Sherri a warm Bella buongiorno on this very special day...
Happy Holidays to everyone.
I’m not sure I’ve still recovered from Thanksgiving! Is it just me or are there entirely too many holidays this time of year? You barely recover from one that you’re gearing up for the next. Not to mention that for me this time of year is extremely bittersweet. It’s the time where I really have to stop and think about all the family I’ve lost. I can’t pretend that they’re busy and we’ll catch up later. The fact that I can’t talk to them anymore comes slamming home with an awful finality.
But with it comes an overwhelming gratitude for the people I still have in my life who mean so much to me. For that reason, I always make sure that I call those I care about this time of year. That I take an entire day and send out cards even though I have work to do. I don’t want to lose anyone else and I don’t want a year to go by without at least checking in with those I love. I know it’s hard. This is a hectic world we all live in, but at the same time, family– whether it’s the one we were born into or the one we’ve made out of our friends– is important.
I’m not trying to be preachy to anyone. That’s so not me. I firmly believe that we are all masters of our destiny and that your business is your business and no one else’s. Ever. I’ve been known to get caught up in the rush and lose entire weeks at a time. Michelle can tell you this firsthand ;) But at the same time, I always try to take a few minutes each day and sit down with my kids without something in the background distracting us. A few minutes each day to just talk to them about whatever they deem important.
And I try to remind myself that while I personally couldn’t care less about the differences between a common and rare Yu-Gi-Oh! Card, to my seven year-old, that is a matter of life and death. And I remember being a little girl and the fact that when my Growing Hair Crissy doll’s hair stopped at being a Page Boy it too was a matter of a national emergency. Life is all about perspective and balance.
My mother used to say that life was like a garden, you get out of it what you put in. If you neglect it, don’t be surprised to find weeds and snakes eating all your vegetables. It takes a lot of time to till the soil, plant the right seeds and make sure they have all they need to take root and grow. Even then the work isn’t done. You have to prune and water every day. Sometimes you have to recover from storms and the damage they cause, but those storms can sometimes make the garden even better by eliminating the weaknesses and highlighting the strengths. Sometimes the locusts swarm and you have to fight them off– might even have to use some napalm on them. But in the end, that garden will be there for you, if you take care of it. My mom was a wise woman and I miss her terribly.
It’s hard to look at my boys and not have her see their lives and watch them grow. But they are a very special part of my garden and in that garden lives many of the very things my mother planted there with me. My love of Halloween and playing dress up even though I’m grown. My bizarre need to have sliced onion on the table at Thanksgiving even though no one but my mother ever ate it. My need to start dragging out Christmas decorations the minute the Thanksgiving meal is over and start making the house smell like baking cookies. And the fact that no Christmas is complete until the poinsettias are liberally scattered through the house. My garden may no longer be filled with her laughter, but it does have her touch. A touch I hope to one day share with my grandkids in honor of her.
And while life is speeding by, I often brake and wonder what things I’m planting in my children’s gardens while I’m not paying attention. Will they be happy veggies or thorns that will snag them years later? I try for their sakes, to keep all the thorns to a minimum. But as my mom would say, it’s not always about being a perfect parent, it’s about being an attentive parent. Kids let you know what they need. I’ve learned this is true. My sprouts are very vocal whenever they have needs and wants. Likes and dislikes. They hold nothing back.
My Christmas tree isn’t decorated the way I’d like it. I stare at those glass ornaments in the stores and magazines with envy. How pretty they always look... how very breakable. Instead, my tree is plastered with Power Rangers and Star Wars. Handmade snowmen and reindeer. Little cardboard cutouts with my sons’ faces peeking through and their handwriting and drawings all over them. And you know, what, I wouldn’t trade those pipe cleaner candy canes and things I can’t even identify for every glass and porcelain ornament made. My tree may match nothing in the house, but it is a beautiful tree that stands proud in my garden.
So my question to all of you during this busy season is what have you planted in your garden for the future? What happy memories make you smile during this season?
And again I say Happy Holidays every one. I hope your garden feeds you and yours extremely well this coming year and just in case you need them, here are some pruning shears and a BIG box of fertilizer ;)