Happy Father's Day to all of the dads out there. The story I'm working on now, features Elliot Peters, a dad of twin daughters. He's determined to get his girls settled and maybe find a little bit of happiness for himself. For all of them. Want another sneak peek?
As you may or may not know, Kate is the sister of Lucy, who was the main character in Falling For Home. You also might not know that My Slanted Bookish Ramblings asked me some questions about Falling for Home over on her Sunday Spotlight. You can win a copy of this book and of Damaged.
“Do you really think that? I mean I’m turning twenty-five and I don’t even have a job.”
Elliot gave a low, rough chuckle. “Twenty-five is tipping the scales toward over the hill. But I think you’re good. You’ve got a degree, a plan, and a family who’ll back you no matter what.” He squeezed her hand. “And you have friends who’ll do the same.”
She nodded into the blackness. She did have all of that. “How about you? You think all of the things that led you to where you are right now were worth it?”
Elliot let go of her hand and settled both of his on his chest. Kate scrunched her pillow a bit under her neck, hoping he’d answer.
“Gina’s a mess. I need to get my girls settled into a real life. They’re in grade one now. They need to be at school, the same school, every day. They need to come home, do homework, have dinner and go to bed at the same time each night. They need routine.”
“They need you.”
He turned his head. She was already looking at him but now their eyes found each other.
“They do. I was unsure of that before. I mean, I work full time which includes odd hours and overtime. And I’m not the mom. I know I’m a good parent. I’d die for them. I would do anything I had to for them. And I thought letting them be with their mom was what I was supposed to do. But I was wrong. She hasn’t changed. She won’t change. Gina has always been one hundred percent about herself. But even knowing that, I can’t regret it because of them.”
I've watched When Harry Met Sally and repeated that line more times than I can count. Because it was true. I was going to be 40. Some day. Or...on Sunday. Like this week. Tomorrow. Something that felt so far away is now and I'm still trying to figure out if I feel about it the way Meg Ryan looks in that picture (mind you, if I looked like Meg Ryan, I'd be totally fine with life) or if I feel more like this
It might be a combination of the two. (Actually, if I were a combination of Meg Ryan and Anna Kendrick, I'd be too cool to actually handle being around myself.)
How is it that at 20, 40 can seem so far away? But at 40, I feel like if I blink, it'll turn into 60. It's one of the things I don't spend a lot of time thinking about because when I do, my lungs refuse to work.
I'm not sure what I thought it would feel like to hit this stage in my life, but I'm pretty sure this is different than what I could have imagined. It's...contradictory.
I'm in far worse physical shape than I was at 20, but I'm more confident. I'm in more debt than I was at 25, but I'm better with money. I have a pre-teen and a teenager, which I thought would be scary and terrifying, but turns out it's pretty cool. I haven't been to all of the places I promised myself I'd go, but I'm content. My loans aren't paid off and I still live in a duplex, but it doesn't bug me the way it once did.
It's weird because the thought of time passing is scary. I don't want it to be over. That's what it comes down to. I feel like I'm trying to grab onto the moments but they keep slipping. There are too many good ones and I can't hold them all. I'm trying to do a better job of enjoying them instead of worrying about them being gone. What surprises me is, even though time passing scares me, I wouldn't want to go back. I wouldn't trade 40 for 20 (though I wouldn't say no to the way I fit a pair of jeans back then) because I like this better. And I didn't think I would.
I like where I am, who I'm with, and how things have worked out. I want it to stay just like this so badly that thinking it won't does the whole lungs shutting down thing again. But, I wanted that at 20 too and if things hadn't changed, I wouldn't be here, where I am right now. I guess we end up where we're meant to, regardless of how hard we fight it or fear it. Which is okay, because when I think of what I have to be grateful for, it's a lot. And all of the things that led me here, good or bad, were worth it.
I think it's not the number that is so scary but the realization that comes with age of how precious it all is. The realization that it all matters. And the awareness that even if you fear time passing, it's going to anyway, so making the most of it is important.
I'm going to New York for my 40th birthday, with my best friend. Normally, with a trip only one month away, I'd be freaking out, sick all the time with the worry of what might happen to me or to my family while I'm not right here to control everything. But I don't want that. That's what I'm working on at 40 that I didn't know how to at 20.
Instead of being scared, or focusing on it, I'm thinking about how lucky I am to go. That I have a husband who supports the trip (even though he knows I'm coming home with New York Giants gear), two daughters who will miss me but are so happy I'm getting the chance to go do something I've been talking about for a long time. I have a best friend who would go with me again, even though I'm not sure I was the best of company the first time around. She has a husband who also supports the trip (and doesn't care what she comes home with because he's not obsessed with football).
I don't know if at 20 I would have looked at the life I have now and thought, yup, that's exactly what I want. But I can't imagine a different one and I don't want to. I don't want to spend all of my time worrying about how fast the next twenty years is going to go. So instead, I'm going to do my best to push aside all of the things that scare me and not only grab onto the moments, but really live in them.