Revising a Year: It’s The Love

I’m remembering last year’s Valentine’s Day as one where I wasn’t up for much of anything. But, still, my guys made sure I was surrounded by love. A quiet night and day at home, my favorite gift was from my teenager, who bought me a pinwheel–something I’ve loved since my earliest childhood memories, and I had to wonder how how knew, then realized of course my husband knew me better than anyone and now so does my child.

valentines day

I cooked something unmemorable last year as my contribution to the holiday, but both my guys pretended it was the best treat ever. We watched a movie, all cuddled up on my bed I think. I fell asleep during the middle of it (much like I do now, and did last night when my husband’s and my date night turned into watching Salt, an amazing girl-antihero movie that I still managed to doze through because my energy level craps out too early most days). Nothing flashy. Nothing special, because I wasn’t up to it. Just family. Just love at it simplest.

I’d just heard last year this time that what we’d thought might be a horrible year wrapped up in fighting a cancer diagnosis would instead be a dance around a treatable, if chronic condition. We didn’t know yet how very ill having poorly-treated thyroid dysfunction could make a person, or how bad my “world-class” endocrinologist would turn out to be as a diagnostician beyond the rock-star care he provided right up to my surgery. Things were starting to look brighter for all of us last Valentine’s day, and even stuck at home and not able to get back into the swing of my life I was nonetheless surrounded by everything I needed as we cuddled close and I was so grateful for the normalcy of having my husband and teen beside me and knowing everything was going to be okay.

A year later, if you’ve been following me that long, you know how rocky 2010 became beyond that seminal hearts and flowers and we’re-on-our-way moment. Practically everything’s changed since then. And even though the cost has been me fighting with my body most days to get it back to a new “normal” that I can function with, and me working my way back to full strength in a publishing career that I had no choice but to put on the back burner (while the entire industry decided to have a collective breakdown while I was gone),  and my family struggling to cope with my condition on top of my son starting his freshman year at one of the most competitive high schools in Georgia, it’s not the changes and challenges that strike me as I prepare for V-Day, 2011.

It’s the love.


My husband and I talk more regularly now, about a lot more than we did before.Because there are so many new variables to consider, yes. But also because it’s become a habit. I’m plugged back into my life here in a real way I wasn’t before my body decided to become a colossal, year-and-a-half pain in my ass. My “busy” became simply living, each day became about getting better and challenging myself to be as involved in my life and my family as I could. Everything else fell away but the most important things in my life. My husband and son. I rediscovered the love that was always there, and I swear it’s even stronger now than before.

I’m working weekly now with my agent and editors and promotion teams on the new, exciting publishing places we’re charting in my career. Nothing’s over, even if everything’s changed there, too. And most importantly, even though I couldn’t work for these people for the better part of a year, they’re still here. I’m not alone. Others want me to succeed, and believe I can, as much or more than I do.

And the friends who’ve waited. I’ve given you a shout out in almost every Revising a Year post I’ve done. Those who called, because they couldn’t stop themselves, even when I didn’t call back. Those who waited, not wanting to pressure me. Those who even now put up with me appearing than disappearing again, because stuff begins to spiral still and I don’t always have the energy yet to make it all fit into a day, and too often something I should be able to do now has to give way. You are my champions. You help me believe when all the rest can’t get through.

As I look back and see how far I’ve come since last year, I’ve both further ahead and behind than I thought I’d be twelve months out. Considering everything that’s unexpectedly happened in the last twelve months, I’m encouraged by what’s also been possible. But it’s not the small victories and “special” moments and hard-fought-for milestones that I remember most.

It’s the love.

love hand

Tomorrow is a day to celebrate our hearts, and our  dreams and hopes for those who share our hearts. Mine is so full to bursting this year, so grateful and humbled by all that’s been gifted to me, so much wanting to make that same impact in the lives of those who’ve been there for me through all this, I feel like that shiny pinwheel, spiraling and glittering and swirling color and light and fantasy into a shadowy room. That’s love.

Promise. Expectation for amazing things. That’s what I want to be for my world and those who share my reality in it this “revising” year. Looking forward, not back, that’s what I see in tomorrow and every day beyond.

Love those who are closest to you this “lovers” day. Love yourself being with them. Cherish this time, as if the next year is nothing more than a dream. Then make all those wishes reality, every new day we’re lucky enough to share.

Happy Valentine’s Day, my friends!

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7 Responses to “Revising a Year: It’s The Love”

  1. Michelle N says:

    I think it’s when things get bleak that we get the gift of finding out where the core of things stand. I’m so sorry for your illness and so inspired by your courage.

  2. Angie T says:

    I started following you years ago on your very first blog. Then followed you to the new one.
    Even if I didn’t always comment, most days I read your blog. Then my family went through a crisis. We lost our 16 year old son in a car crash August of 2008.
    I already struggled with thyroid crisis, then after we lost Ethan, depression. It has been 2 years of pure hell. Then 3 weeks ago, my older son moved out. Suddenly, we are ‘empty-nesters!’
    Life is still hard sometimes, but, like you, I am so blessed to have the family and friends I have. And the love of my wonderful husband. Some days are diamonds and some days are not. But you just keep putting one foot in front of the other.
    I had pretty much stopped reading, visiting blogs, gardening; everything I loved. I did not know you had your crisis, but I am glad to hear you are on the way back!
    My motto these days is “Breathe in. Breathe out. Move on. (Props to Jimmy Buffett!)
    Happy, Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your family! <3

    • Anna says:

      Angie, your story is so moving. And you’re such a strong woman, for survivng AND sharing the tragedy and difficulty of the last few years. I’m so sorry to hear about Ethan. And, yes, I remember you from the very beginning of my “blog” self. I wish I could take away even a part of the pain you’ve endured. I know I can’t, and you sound like you’ve come out the other side with a hard-fought-for strength that is sustaining you as much as your wonderful family.

      If you’ve found light or a smile or even a few moments of peace or entertainment reading any of my books or blogs, I’m humbled. Thrilled.

      I love your (and JB’s) motto. Thanks for sharing it. There’s always a place for you here, to share any of the ups and downs. The diamonds and the shadows. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your family, too. I hope we see you out here again soon, so we can cyber hug and smile and breathe together some more ;0)


  3. Janet G says:

    I am wishing for everyone that 2011 will be their best year ever and that 2012 will be even better.

  4. Mary Preston says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day & may you have many more.

  5. cc says:

    Sounds like you have a great family.

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