As a wife, I have dozens of faults. I'm messy, you see. I don't fold laundry. (Hence, the mess.) I struggle with selfishness. I'm grumpy when I wake up and sometimes I'm grumpy for no reason at all.
Also, I snore. That can't be fun.
It can't be easy being married to me, due to the reasons mentioned above. And let's not forget my weakness for pricey shoes--ahem, pretty shoes!--and my tendency to clam up whenever Justin and I have a serious conversation. (Silent Treatment, how I cling to thee.)
But it really must be hard to be married to me because I am a writer. Writing is my dream, my love, my oldest and most sacred passion. I can't imagine a life, or even a day, without journaling or note-taking or book-scribbling. It's a part of my atoms.
It also happens to make me a little cuckoo.
You know what I mean, right? The ups and the downs, the snot-filled meltdowns. The sob sessions that last for hours, not to mention the hundreds of dollars poured into conferences and critiques and that darn SCBWI annual fee. There's also my little habit of drifting elsewhere whenever we're watching TV or gobbling sandwiches at Potbelly's. My brain is a constant haze of characters and plots and whatnots. It's almost like there are three people in in this marriage: him, me, and my books.
And yet, through it all, Justin takes me as I am. He doesn't have to support my cuckoo-brained dreams, but he does. He always has and I know he always will, even if it turns me into a cry-faced creature who can't stop wailing.
I haven't forgotten all the times he has been there for me....
- - - - -
One time, in 2009, I was querying my very first novel. I had been querying for about nine months and my timeline went something like this: rejection, rejection, REJECTION, REJECTION! Nothing but polite Thanks but no thanks.
But then...but then...I garnered a full request from a Very Important Agent! I squealed. A lot. In my mind, I mapped out all sorts of wondrous possibilities that included agency contracts and book contracts and bags o'money.
So it makes sense that my heart collapsed when I received the dreaded Thanks but no thanks email. I proceeded to spend two hours crying on Justin's shoulder, sobbing onto his shirt, telling him I was no good. I believe this is what I looked like:
|Sofa AKA tissue|
And Justin simply sat there--for two hours--holding me and wiping my tears and telling me that I had to believe in myself because I would get an agent.
He didn't give up on me. I'm so glad he didn't. Because he was right.
- - - - -
Let's backtrack a little further to 2008, when Justin and I had been married for about a year.
We were living in North Carolina. Justin was a specialist in the Army while I was trying my hand at freelance writing. Our bank account was on the slim side, mostly because my freelancing paid me in pennies or oftentimes nothing at all. (Although I did get a gift certificate to Barnes & Noble once. Score!)
One night, I could tell something was troubling Justin. He looked so tired, as if he had an anchor hanging between his shoulder blades. It took some prodding but I finally got him to open up.
"What's wrong?" I asked.I really lucked out in the marriage department, didn't I?
"Nothing, just financial stuff."
"Um." (<-- commence Caroline clamming up.)
"I've been thinking about getting another job. I can work nights somewhere."
"Why don't I just get a real job?" I said. "You already work, like, ten hours a day."
"I know but...."
"I want you to pursue your dreams."
(And no, he did not get a second job! I would not let him do that!)
- - - - -
There are so many more examples of Justin's supportiveness and helpfulness. He's simply...amazing. The best husband I could have asked for, and the best friend I always wished for. Thank you, dear, for everything and more! I don't say that enough, do I?
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Much, much love.