"I may be staring over your shoulder through some of dinner."
Last night some wonderful friends, who also happen to be my neighbors, threw a surprise party for me to celebrate fulfilling my dream of publishing. There is much I could say about this.... how having them recognize the importance of this accomplishment made it even more real for me... how the large group of friends that surrounded me reaffirmed the incredibly fortunate life I have... how fun it was to talk about my work with friends who have only seen the external aspects of what I do; but what I wanted to blog about today, was the incredibly important role my husband has played in my writing career.
The overhear was from him.... we were sitting in the fancy restaurant, and he was watching the football playoff game on a small TV across the room. I had been confused about why we were even going out because his favorite team, the Giants, were playing. I knew how important the game was to him so I couldn't imagine what kind of date could be so compelling.
I should have realized it was about my writing. Almost anything else in our life together is negotiated.... where we vacation, who we have over for dinner, what activities our daughter does.... but not writing. From the very beginning my husband has made my writing a priority in our life. He seemed to understand the importance of it in my psyche even before I did. .. but let me go back.
It was the year 2000 and we had just moved back to the U.S. from England. I was burnt out. I had been in an amazing job in England working with a great team on an online content strategy for Barclays Bank. It was energizing and exciting to be part of something so relevant, but it was also exhausting.... especially adding in a 3 hour commute each day.
When we got to Boston, we both decided I would take a break. What about earning money, I asked.... my income had been a significant contribution to our household to that point. No, I needed a break, he assured me. I needed to write. It felt like a boondoggle.... a scam. I didn't have to go into an office? I got to enjoy a coffee at Starbucks and do something I loved to do anyway? How was that not a trick?
Fast forward 11 years. I am sitting at a table, surrounded by friends, explaining how I got here. Talking about the years when I was afraid to call myself a writer out loud. Talking about the work of creating and editing. Signing the dinner party menus so that my friends would have my signature to keep. And.... still feeling like I have gotten away with something. I look at my husband, he is watching me and the friends at the table, not the tv and I am reassured. This is how I know I am an author. Not because I am published, not because I have the skills, but because, on a night when my husband's own interest is competing, he is here, fully present with me and my writing career.
BTW - the Giants won, 20 to 17. Superbowl Sunday is all about him! GO GIANTS!
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