I love to read emotionally charged stories, with characters who are shredded, then put back together. But I also love to laugh, so over time my own writing has become a blend of these two elements…just like in real life.
On the Personal Transformation site, the blog post author discusses the importance of having a happy emotional payoff. If you’re interested, check out the post. It’s short. I’ll wait…
Oh good, you’re back.
On Monday, my sister and I took our mom to the knee doctor, and Mom is now on the list for knee surgery. For two years now, we’ve been trying to get her on that list. The good news is, she’s finally on the list. The bad news is, she’s finally on the list.
Mom wants the operation, badly. She’s super active, and the knee not only causes her pain, it slows her down. And truthfully, the slowing down part is probably harder on her than the pain.
I want to be a good daughter. In fact, I get a huge emotional payoff when I’ve done something that makes Mom happy. But a very large part of me is afraid for this 98 pound, 85 year old woman. She’s feistier than I am, may even be physically stronger than me (although I think her strength is driven by the sheer determination to win at all costs), and the operation will allow her to be independent far longer than she would be if she didn’t get it.
But to me, she’s weak and old and frail and precious, and I struggle between being the good daughter (supporting her decision to have the operation) or being the bad daughter (convincing her the operation is a baaaaaddddd idea, especially at her age).
Hmmm, now where’s the humor in all this?
Well, you have to know my mom. She is one of the most determined, hard-headed women I know. Which means that once the operation is over, she’ll be pushing to get back to her “normal” self.
But her shoes are atrocious. She inherited them from my dad or her sister or anyone else who has said, “Dora, do you have a use for these? I’m throwing them out…” We can’t get her to wear proper footwear. So I’ve told her that while she’s in the hospital, I’m sending in reinforcements to collect and throw out all of her shoes. She doesn’t believe me, but in July, I’m fully expecting to be shunted to the bad daughter doghouse.
Then there’s the vegetable garden. I’ve warned her that if she plants before she goes into the hospital, it’ll be gone when she gets out, because no way can she resist the urge to play in her garden (and by play, I mean work). Again, she doesn’t believe me, but I’ve decided that part of the emotional payoff of being a good daughter is protecting my mom from her own stubbornness, and protecting her will give me a hugely happy emotional payoff.
And seriously, I’m not really afraid of the bad daughter doghouse. After all, I’m her daughter. Isn’t there a rule that she has to love me, no matter what?
So what are your favorite emotional payoffs in real life or in fiction?
For the last two weeks, I’ve been in holiday prep mode, decorating the house and baking my family’s favorite holiday treats. Let’s face it, the rest of the 364 days of the year, the only thing they get is banana loaf, so at this time of year, I tend to go a wee bit overboard.
My mother, like many of my heroines’ mothers, has stepped in to ensure the holiday feast is a success. Two weeks ago, she deemed my holiday turkey wasn’t big enough or fresh enough (okay, I confess, mine has been in the bottom of the freezer since last spring, so she’s probably right). Last week, she appeared at the door with a lovely 20 pound turkey that right this minute is roasting in the oven. (Thanks, Mom…on Boxing Day, I’ll drop off the turkey bones so you can make your delicious turkey soup!)
The family will arrive in a few hours. By then, we’ll have the table set and the rest of the food prepared. And in far less time than it takes to prepare the meal, we’ll all be stuffed and ready for a nap. 🙂
I want to take this opportunity to thank each of you for your support this year. Whether you invested your precious time to read one (or all!) of my books, left a much coveted review on Amazon, Goodreads, or one of the other online retailers, or joined me for a special event like the recent Naughty & Nice Blog Hop, your support means everything.
Whenever I’m faced with a stubborn character or plot, I think of you, my dear readers. Your comments and emails mean so much to me, so please keep them coming.
From my house to yours, I wish each of you a happy and safe holiday season. May 2014 bring you good health and joy.
Coming February 2014, The Marriage Pact, a Cranberry Cove romantic comedy.
This part of my story begins a few days after my original The Ducklings Are Coming post. If you haven’t read that post yet, go do so now. I’ll wait.
♫ ♬ ♪♬ ♫
Oh, you’re back. I was just humming a tune. You probably noticed my musical talents are … shall we say … ear-numbing? 🙂
A few days after I wrote The Ducklings Are Coming post, we heard our son shout for assistance. As we raced outside, he told us that the neighborhood tomcat had disappeared under the front deck dragging Mama Duck by the neck.
The men flew into action. My husband raced for one end of the deck while our son headed for the other end. The pounding of our feet against the floorboards and the sound of our loud voices must have frightened the tomcat into releasing Mama Duck because a few seconds later, the tomcat sprang out from one side of the deck and Mama Duck came flapping out the other end.
My husband raced after the tomcat, while poor Mama Duck took one look at the remaining humans and took flight in the opposite direction.
We took a quick peek through the branches of the juniper at the eggs. There was blood on them, so we knew Mama Duck had been hurt, but the eggs looked intact and unbroken. Provided Mama Duck came back, the ducklits still had a chance.
A while later, DH reappeared. He’d chased the tomcat clear across the yard and halfway across the farmer’s field. But now that the tomcat knew where the nest was, we knew he’d be back.
So we waited, keeping watch for Mama Duck, the return of the tomcat, or for the crows and magpies to discover and destroy the vulnerable eggs. To add to our worries, the temperature dipped to near freezing.
The next day, we saw Mama Duck down by the pond. She was alive but limping. By mid-afternoon, we saw her walk from the pond toward the house to check on her eggs. If you look really close at the picture on the right, you can see her walking across the lawn.
My story has a bittersweet ending. While the duck eggs didn’t make it, we’re happy to say that Mama Duck recovered from her injuries. For the next week, she recuperated down by the pond, the Mallard duck in attendance. She didn’t fly, but instead walked everywhere. From our viewpoint near the house, it looked like she was searching for a new place to nest.
At first we mourned the loss of the duck eggs, but when we saw the tomcat once again sneaking up on the juniper, we knew the loss of the eggs had been a blessing in disguise. At least Mama Duck was safe … or as safe as Mother Nature would allow.
We currently have another family of ducklings visiting our pond. They appear late in the evening, just before sunset, and spend the night on the duck deck which floats in the middle of the pond.
And we’re keeping an eye out for our Mama Duck with hopes that she will appear in a few weeks with a new batch of ducklits. If not this year, then maybe the next.
With the events of last week still fresh in my mind, and the Seabrook Christmas preparations in full swing, I decided to take a moment to voice my gratitude.
1. I’m grateful for my husband who always knows what I need, whether it’s a hug, a break from the daily grind or whatever new bit of fascinating technology I’m currently drooling over.
2. I’m grateful for my eldest son who every Wednesday at noon gives me advice on plot holes or social media or computer issues.
3. I’m grateful for my youngest son, who makes my coffee before he heads off to work each morning and ensures there’s enough there to get me through the day.
4. I’m grateful for my family and our 2009 trip to Cuba. Not only was it the first time I’d ever been to a vacation resort, but it was the first time since I was a kid that my parents and siblings got together for a family vacation. I’m also grateful for this trip because it was the last vacation I would ever be able to take with my dad and I still cherish those wonderful moments we shared.
5. I’m grateful for the chance to spend more time with my mom. Having worked all of my adult life, visits with my parents were always rushed and fraught with stressors from a stressful day job. Now that I’m focused on writing full time, I call her every day or two, and manage to slip out of the house at least a couple of times a week to visit her and catch up on all the latest news.
6. I’m grateful for the bountiful table we are fortunate to have this Christmas and pray that others less fortunate have a local food bank in their area to supply their needs, as we have in our small town. If you haven’t yet done so, please donate.
7. I’m grateful for my many online friends, who come into my virtual house every day and share their life with me. It makes this huge world almost tiny and intimate, and I get to experience life through your eyes.
8. I’m grateful for the upcoming year. It always feels like a fresh start with infinite possibilities. May 2013 bring each one of you good health, much happiness, and fulfill your cherished dreams.
From my house to yours, may your holidays be filled with laughter and joy.
Last Saturday night, I started out the holiday season by dragging my Better Half to a local Christmas concert. We listened to a men’s church choir, women playing Christmas bells, and two teenage girls who played violin and sang beautifully. Since I was raised with a mixture of classical music, church hymns, and rock and roll, the entire evening was a joy.
The following morning, I popped over to Chrissy Olinger‘s blog to read her latest post Hard Candy Christmas. Okay, if nothing else, just go over there to see the adorable picture of her puppy. Trust me, you’ll love it. 🙂
Chrissy’s post reminded me that for some, the holiday season is difficult. My Better Half has a love/hate relationship with the season. There are a multitude of reasons why, none of which I’ll go into here, but we have adapted our celebration so we can both enjoy the holiday.
So whether you love or hate the holidays, remember that there are those who feel different than you do. Respect their individuality and be kind to each other. This is, after all, a season for love.