14 April 2015

Humility

Sorry for the hiatus, my friends. There are three weddings on my husband's side of the family all between last Saturday and June, and in-between those weddings are two birthdays and our anniversary, so my weekends are jam-packed.

Last week was Abigail's first Spring Break. I knew it was going to be difficult for her, as she loves school and doesn't understand what a vacation is. I planned a few activities, including a trip to the zoo and a large park, but it rained almost every day, so not only did we not get to go to the zoo, we couldn't even take a walk outside. I used to vow that I would never become one of those parents who dreaded school breaks and counted down the days to the end of summer vacation, but I totally understand them now. It isn't that they can't handle their children, it's that their schedule undergoes a complete upheaval. Eleanor, Abigail, and I are all used to the days having a certain routine and when that routine is changed in a major way, it affects everyone. When Abigail goes to school, that is our quiet time. Eleanor gets some one-on-one attention for a while and then takes a nap. I get time to finish quiet projects or pure personal time. But when Abigail goes away to school, she gets gobs of physical activity. Her classroom is actually two rather large rooms that are together about the size of our apartment. And one of the rooms is an indoor playground - balance beams, trikes, cozy coupes, and lots and lots of open space to run. It's a toddler's (and physical therapist's) dream. So when she gets yanked out of loud, run, fun time and dropped into quiet baby nap time, it's tough on everyone.

So my book went live last week. When I hit the "approve proof" button that launched me into The Real World, I had no expectations for how the sales would be. I had no idea what was normal or good, so I just didn't expect anything. So I can't really tell you how sales are going, but I can tell you about the reception. It's humbling. And flattering. And humbling.

Just one week after we went live was the first family wedding, and it was a big one. My mother-in-law is one of nine, and every last aunt and uncle (born or married in), are open, loving, and warm. The kind of people who give big, genuine hugs every time they see you. The kind of people who follow your kids on Facebook. The kind of people who are happy for you or sad for you or pray for you, whenever you need it. And they raised or are raising families of friendly, compassionate children who carry on the spirit of the family with every holiday. The kind of family a girl dreams of marrying into. Especially when she does something big, like publishes a book.

The first thing off everyone's lips last Saturday: "Congratulations!" "Your an author!" "Will you sign my copy?!" One uncle even showed me how it's his top most-looked-up book on Amazon and how he wants to buy a half dozen copies and give them out to people.

I am not used to being this loved.

It's humbling.

It was like the first stop on a book tour.

All I could think was that I'm not good enough to produce something people should be spending their hard earned money on. I'm a mediocre writer at best. I feel like I'm putting on a big show and hoping no one sees through the facade: "What?! This girl can't write! Kick her out of the family! Never trust her again!" This is how I felt when I opened Sheep 'n Co. Don't spend your precious money - I'm not good enough!

I think it's so incredible to have this reaction given our society's insistence that we are all beautiful individual snowflakes with something meaningful to contribute. Write your amazing thoughts on a blog! Post photos of your beautiful life on Instagram! Fill Twitter with your witty, insightful mind! Everyone is amazing! But when you rush past the curtains and out onto stage, standing in the spotlight with your arms spread wide and the audience starts clapping, your stomach starts churning. Are they clapping because I'm good? Or because I'm a joke?

Someone handed me a pen: "Will you sign my copy? Make this one out to Auntie Jeanie" What am I suppose to write? I can't just write Auntie Jeanie, Jacqueline. I have to say something. What are you suppose to write in a book? He shook my hand and looked me straight in the eye. She hugged me and whispered in a voice thick with emotion, "Thank you for being brave."

People are taking me seriously and I feel a lot of responsibility. To be eloquent. To say the right thing. To make people feel that they didn't make a mistake in trusting my story. "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." (Luke 12:48). I appreciate that I'm appreciating the gravity of the responsibility. I am appreciating that in the midst of my success, I am feeling humble.

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