I had a baby four months ago. Since then, I have read half of a long book and all of a short one. I have binge watched my way through Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey, and Band of Brothers. (Did you know that it takes roughly 8 hours a day to feed a newborn? I didn’t. That’s a lot of sitting around.) I have walked out of a restaurant because my child was screaming – the purple, choking kind. (I ate my dinner out of a to-go box on a park bench while my child sat smiling at me.) Grocery shopping alone while my husband watches the baby is a peaceful release. (Long line? No problem.)

Being a mom is the hardest job I’ve ever had. It’s exhausting and the work never ends. Little smiles are the only measure of a job well done, and some days the smiles are outnumbered by tears. Even so, being a mom is my most favorite job. (And I’ve had a lot of jobs.)

Very often in life, the hardest things yield the greatest rewards. So it goes with writing. I’ve been working on the same book baby for years, telling myself the story over and over again. With each telling, I’m a little closer to the core of what I want to say, what needs to be shared. Like being a mom, it’s hard to measure the success of writing. It’s hard to say “job well done” when it’s not done. But in small ways – a book map completed – a new path defined – a character deleted, two others combined – in those ways, I see little smiles. I know that I’ve done something right. I know that I’m moving forward, that this hard thing will one day yield a reward. Until then, I’ll keep doing what I do with my son. I’ll keep trying. I’ll give it my all. I’ll try to enjoy every moment, even the ones that have me unexpectedly eating on a park bench.

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