So I’m fresh off yet another life experience. Life experiences caused me to write, first with a mom-blog, and now books. I like to write about life—real couples, real people (by real, of course I mean fake but still real… you know what I mean).
Shiver has gained some mild controversy on some of the real-life aspects. People either love it or they could have done without it. And I understand that completely. But I wanted to tell a little bit about my story that may help people understand why I wrote what I did. And why I wrote it the way that I did. Whether it worked or not is up to you. :)
That second part? The part that could have been it’s own book? I thought about it. I almost did write a separate novel. But then I realized that there’s not a complete story, because there’s no end. I think most parents can identify with that, and from the messages I’ve received (and loved), certainly parents who have a child with special needs will understand.
It’s all about my little boy.
Shiver is largely a true story. I made it a bit more dramatic, more relevant and concise, and truly it took my husband YEARS to propose to me, much to my chagrin. But the overall story—it happened. And I wanted to do it justice.
It’s no secret that the story follows Lissa and Ethan past the HEA and into real life. It was very intentional. My point was to show this very authentic, very true couple dealing with… life. Life is not easy. No one ever said it would be. We simply have moments.
My husband and I got married and I was pregnant a ridiculously short time later. We were happy and excited and scared and unprepared. The usual. There were complications. They were monitored. But at the end of the day, we still weren’t prepared.
We had a son who was not well, from day one. Even six years, multiple scopings, 2 PICC lines, a G-tube, thousands of therapy hours—some wasted, some not—raising our own food, and milking our own goats later, we’ve done everything we could semi-reasonably do. And we tend to skate the edge of reasonable anyway.
Things have been good. I usually say great but in real life terms… good. We had our daughter while I was still feeding our son through a tube. Because we somehow felt that was great and we were ready.
But now that boy is almost seven. And that little girl is almost four. We’ve been managing. I’ve been able to rejoin our business, and I realized how much I missed out on. When I met my husband, I did work for him, just like Lissa. Back then we ran things together, but then I dropped off to manage our son. I dropped off everything to manage our son.
We should have been torn apart. We should have fought, because we did (do) have different views and ideas on how to manage and how to treat. But instead we talked and huffed and at the end of the different views, we had the same final vision. And that was our child thriving.
Getting to that has required compromising.
On the vision? Maybe. If you need to think of it that way. On the definition? Sure. The definition of life and health and the most hated word for a medically complicated child: THRIVE.
Why am I stuck on all this today?
Because of this week.
We’ve been doing pretty well the past two years. Not perfect, but managing. I’m really fucking good at managing. Not everything is inside my range of control though. I hate to admit that.
My family got sick, like pretty much everyone’s has this winter. The flu bug is a bitch, and we’ve successfully avoided her for a good while.
This time we weren’t so lucky. We all got it, and my son could only handle so much. We tried everything to keep from going to the hospital. We haven’t had a stay in over two years. That’s a lot when you’ve lived there in the past. It was the hardest decision to go. And I needed my husband for that. I wanted to fix it myself, like I’d fixed so much. I’ve had problems with the medical system, serious problems. But they win in life saving techniques. I know that.
So we went. We went for “typical kid” fluids, thinking that would be that. Within hours we were discussing blood transfusions, PICC lines, weekly iron transfusions, bone marrow, etc, etc.
Sadly, it was familiar. I wasn’t even that alarmed. I was resigned. This was our normal, even though we’d had a break. I’m comfortable walking the halls in my treaded socks. I love the late night conversations with the lab technicians about their pet crows who talk and get licked by dogs. When the ER nurse who helped admit us comes to visit several days later, I will burst into tears and hug her. I’ll never forget those hours I spent waiting, and the time she spent chatting with me when she needed her own outlet. All it takes is a little kindness and some humans.
I love humans and that’s why I write about them. It may not be your perfect romance, but it’s romantic and it’s human.
My greatest inspiration into the reality of life, but the best of humans, is my son. This small boy who has dealt with more than anyone should. The one who asks for a snuggle, who smiles and kisses my cheek when he wakes up protecting his IV, who laughs at the crazy pet crow story, even after a traumatic blood draw and an understandable mistrust of all things white coat. Who tells me he loves me and loves spending time with me, even in the worst of circumstances. When that ‘I love you’ clearly conveys the depth of his gratefulness and understanding in his parents being there for him and trying to help. His longing for us to all be together. His little sister’s brave front and small but meaningful teariness at having to go home at night separated.
To me, that is love and that is romance. It is human and imperfect. But at the root is love, in any form. Real, true love.
And thanks for reading, if you made it to the end, because writing this was successful therapy for me. #moneysaved (see, I can't stay serious for long)