Today is the two year anniversary of my Dad’s death. His deathiversary.
I’m not sure what I want to say about it, but I can’t let it slip by without acknowledging it is here, it is happening. Just a reminder that he isn’t with us and it’s because of this one, single day. His cancer diagnoses changed our world. This day blew it apart.
I still think of Dad when I need to make a decision. When I see other grandparents doing fun things with their grandkids. When I want to buy a new gadget. When I’m planning a vacation. When I do something good. When the kids do something good. Honestly, it doesn’t hurt so much all the time now. The grief. Instead it sneaks up on me randomly, and the pain is quick and sharp and then gone again until the next reminder.
During one of his last days, Dad and I had a conversation that pushed me to get serious about chasing a particular dream. Today I am in NYC for a writing conference. It doesn’t feel like a coincidence that this big milestone is happening on the exact anniversary of his death. It feels like it is meant to be. Today, while my thoughts are on both the past and the future, he has a hand on me. Guiding me, steadying me, supporting me. Today it doesn’t feel like Heaven is so far away. And for that, I’m grateful.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’d like to offer up the dating advice of my six-year-old. You are welcome.
This may not be widely known, but there are four steps to falling in love.
Kate’s four-step process is simple to follow, although it may bring to mind a few questions. Like, why does the girl in this instructional have such a giant rack? (I don’t know. Kate likes boobs?) What are they talking about in each step? (Imaginary friends/animals. Naturally.) In step three, how are they getting in touch? (Texting with their iWatches. Again, naturally.) So what are you waiting for? With Kate’s four easy steps to falling in love and getting yourself a boyfriend, you won’t be spending this Valentine’s Day alone.
YOU ARE WELCOME.
A quick list of what is in my world this week.
Reading: I’m currently reading The Apothecary by Maile Meloy. I picked this series up because it was at my favorite store for buying things I’m not planning on buying: Costco. And don’t play like you don’t know what I mean. In for eggs, milk and coffee, out with a kayak, a wheel of cheese, two rabbit cages and three books. Every. Damn. Time. Thanks Costco!
The Apothecary is set in 1952 and while I’m only about 75 pages in, I’m loving the world that Meloy is building. There is action, danger and a hint of something magical, so you know I’m hooked.
Writing: Since it is January, most of what I’m writing is purely for business. Editorial calendars, blog posts, marketing plans. And I’m still (STILL) editing my current middle grade novel.
Listening: I’m always on the hunt for new music to add to my playlist. I usually have to listen to music when I’m writing, with two young kids, two dogs and a husband who works from home, it’s the only way for me to block out the world. But YOU GUYS. Today a friend told me about a website called RainyMood.com and it is LIFE CHANGING. It is the sound of rain. That’s it. The sound of a rainy day. And I love it. I am going to hole myself up in my office, draw the drapes, put on a little rain and write for days.
Drinking: Tea. Hot tea. Specifically this TAZO sweet cinnamon spice blend.
Because it is January and coffee and wine are bad for you and I will stick to my resolutions for at least another full week, thank you very much.
I hate tea.
Purchasing: I just went out and bought a new planner for 2016. Truth be told, I’m underwhelmed by it. I wanted one with lots of stickers and motivational statements and maybe a robot that would actually make me use it. But I just couldn’t work myself up to spend more than $50 on something that, experience tells me, I will use for exactly 62 days and then will abandon somewhere in the depths of my desk. The one I got? Meh. It was $14 and will serve its purpose. I’m not gonna sing about it from the rooftops, but I’m also not going to have to skip girl’s night to pay for it. (Planner pictured: Sugar * Paper 2016 planner, Target, $14.99)
Coveting: You know what I am coveting most right now? A double double from In-N-Out animal style with fries and a shake. HELLO LOVER. But instead I will go cut up an apple. New Years Resolutions are ruining my life.
So, I’m an unpublished author. That means, I write, and I write, and I cry into my coffee and I edit (a lot) and then I write some more. And no one gives me any money for it, because advances are for Kardashians and presidents. But I love it, so I keep at it. It’s fun, and exciting. And yet, there are certain times when being unpublished is just the absolute worst.
People ask you what you do. And you say you are writing a book. Trust me on this. They will immediately avoid eye contact, make a polite noise and then change the subject. To something awful, like the weather. Or the video of the dog riding the Zoomba they saw yesterday. The odd person will actually ask what it is about, but before you finish your 30-second pitch, they will have moved on to how their sister’s cousin wrote a book and it is being turned into a Hollywood blockbuster. And then they might muse that THEY always wanted to write a book. Maybe they will just whip one out so they can get a movie deal. Which will make you, the unpublished author, struggle to keep your head from exploding.
You read an article about how bookstores are becoming obsolete. Which leads to utter (and, irrational) panic over whether or not you will ever get a book published in time to actually see it on a shelf in a physical store. Which might lead to elaborate, and slightly premature, planning of an Amazon Warehouse break-in that includes bookcases, product display work and flash photography/selfies. All while you really should just be trying to finish writing the damn book in the first place. #priorities
You meet published authors, who are so totally nice and supportive but realistic. And they tell you how it took them TWELVE YEARS to get an agent, and you die a little inside because TWELVE YEARS. *sob*
You know that having an online presence is so totally important to getting an agent or book deal, so you have to put together an author website and a twitter account and a Facebook page and yet YOU HAVE NO BOOKS. NO. BOOKS. So you try and tweet cool book-type things and make friends with actual successful (published) writers and yet, still. NO. BOOKS. You will feel like the ultimate imposter. Just be cool. Be cool. Maybe no one will notice. BUUUUUUT don’t forget to hashtag it all. #amwriting #amediting
Speaking of… you’ll have to excuse me. I’m going to go tweet this now.
Once, when I was in middle school and involved in community theater, Dad told me I should audition for a play my theater teacher was directing and name drop other directors I knew. I told him, “no” that I only wanted to get the parts that I deserved on merit, not on who I knew. I spent a lot of time in the chorus or bit parts that year.
And I wised up the next.
Dad gave me my very first lesson on networking in those theater days. Even though it took me awhile to catch on, it is a lesson that has served me well both in my career as a public relations professional and as a stay at home parent/advocate for my kids.
After Dad died, I re-dedicated myself to my next adventure. Writing a novel. He believed in me and my abilities, so I felt it was time to make good on that faith. And I’m approaching it the way Dad would want me to.
I joined an organization. Specifically, The Society of Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrators. I joined a writing “support” group. I signed up for seminars. I am reading more in the last year than I have in the six years since Kate was born.
And today I took the biggest step of all. I registered for the SCBWI’s Winter Conference. In New York. This is a huge expense and a giant leap of faith. But I’m just doing what Dad taught me. Meet the people. Certainly, be good at what you do. Work hard. Be professional. But meet the people. Build the relationships. So I’m going to New York and I can’t wait to see who I meet.
This is for you Dad. Hope I’m making you proud.
Yoga. Madonna got killer arms doing it and Gisele got THAT BODY and Tom Brady doing it, so I really see no reason not to jump on that zen wagon. Plus, Adam Levine is a faithful yogi and I need SOMETHING to talk to him about besides screaming incoherently if I ever get to meet him, so you know. There is that.
My dear friend and general bad-ass Megan is a yoga instructor and practitioner. She has created a line of apparel, accessories and bags for the budding or experienced yogi called zenzeroyoga. Everything she makes is smart and chic and even though I am just dipping my toe in the yoga pond, I want it all.
New gear always gets me jazzed to get back in the gym (or studio) and with Spring Break just around the corner, it’s a great time to recommit to healthy resolutions. And because I love you all, my dear readers, I am offering you a chance to win this zenzeroyoga “camo with purple arrows” yoga bag, a value of $45! All you need to do is post a comment below about what your favorite yoga pose is and you are entered to win! The winner will be randomly selected on Friday, February 27.
Check out Megan’s shop on Etsy, zenzeroyoga and take advantage of FREE shipping until March 1st with the coupon code: EDELSPOT.
Sweepstakes are open to readers 18 years or older with U.S. shipping addresses only. Sweepstakes ends on February 27, 2015. No purchase necessary to enter or win. One winner will be generated via Random.org. Winner will be notified within 5 days after the entry deadline date. Winners must respond within 3 days or the prize will be forfeited and a new winner will be chosen. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. We hereby release Facebook of any liability.
The EdelSpot is not responsible for any late or lost entries, electronic, hardware, Internet or other computer/communications related malfunctions, giveaway disruptions, injuries, losses or damages caused by events beyond the control of The EdelSpot, any printing or typographical errors in any materials associated with the sweepstakes or prizes lost in shipment. All federal, state, local or international taxes associated with the prize are the sole responsibility of the winner. By entering the sweepstakes, you release The EdelSpot from any liability whatsoever, and waive any and all causes of action, related to any claims, costs, injuries, losses or damages of any kind arising out of or in connection with the giveaway or delivery, mis-delivery or acceptance of any prize (including, without limitation, claims, costs, injuries, losses and damages related to personal injuries, death, damage to or destruction of property, rights of publicity or privacy, defamation or portrayal in a false light, whether intentional or unintentional), whether under a theory of contract, tort (including negligence), warranty or other theory.
My father, Gregory John Entwistle, was diagnosed with advanced esophageal cancer in September 2013. Five months later, on February 12, 2014, he was gone.
Today is the one year anniversary of his passing and I have waited for this day with such dread. I asked friends for support and prayers. I anxiously tried to write a post that would honor him and the past year we’ve spent without him. I drank a little too much wine. I cried a little (or a lot). And then this morning, I woke up.
And it was just another day.
I’m not sure what I expected. I guess I thought I would wake up to a giant wave of grief, a new and sudden avalanche of feelings because ONE YEAR. ONE. It feels like such a big milestone, but if you get down to the heart of the matter, things are still the same now as they were right after he passed. Six months after he passed. Yesterday. I still miss him. I still feel like something so big is missing from our lives. I still think about him every day. I still teeter on the edge of anger. Still look for reason or meaning behind the early passing of such a good, kind man. I still wish that things were different.
But they are not. They are not different and he is not here.
One year hasn’t changed anything. It’s just another day.
Another day that I miss you, Daddy. So, so much.
Please accept this letter as notice of my resignation, effective immediately. While I have enjoyed this position at times, I have come to the conclusion that your children are completely, and without a doubt, un-parentable.
The many, many books I have
read skimmed have prepared me with classic and time-tested approaches to address nearly ALL the challenges of raising children. YOUR children, however, are a troublesome case.
Today I took a privilege away from the children. And while all the books assured me that this would set them on the path to righteousness and correct their wayward behavior, it was hardly the response. Instead of coloring and playing demurely during my evening meeting, the children revolted. Instead of focusing on the goal of good behavior to win back their iPads and screen time, they prepared an assault on my meeting in a direct tactical response to the consequence I had sanctioned.
Doors were opened and slammed. Crayons and markers were thrown. Shouting, running and LOUD WHISPERING — SUCH LOUD WHISPERING were executed with lethal precision. Tantrums were thrown. Friends were pulled onto the battlefield and used as emotional hostages. Chairs were dragged, loudly, through a quiet auditorium in front of an audience of other, more successful parenting figures.
Sir. To put it in the most direct and honest way I can: Tonight was a shit show.
And so, it is with a heavy heart that I must admit that I am unable to parent the children any longer. Tonight they won. In an epic and unforgettable way. They won.
I will never forget my time with the children. Mainly because of the gray hair and drinking problem I have acquired during my time with them. But still. They look sweet when they are sleeping and I will miss that. Sometimes.
If you need me, please look no further than the closest adult-only resort. I’m taking a break from children (all children) for the foreseeable future.