So she wrote and wrote and wrote. She grew up and got married, had children, raised them and hoped that she could impart her love of words to them. She sent them off to college and then down the aisle. She has grandchildren now. She works a full time job. She volunteers. Her life is full. She has no time to write, and yet she can't stop. She's compelled by story.
When I was younger, I'd hear stories about people waiting ten or twenty years for something. Unbelievable. Impossible. Who has that kind of patience? Not me. But I had this dream back then, and no matter how many times I laid it down, it got right back up and followed me. It teased at my ankles. It jumped on my back. It eased its way into my soul. It became a part of me. I gave up fighting it and gave into the joy of the process. The work of the process.
And that's the thing about dreams, most of them take work. You take steps toward them - slow and steady - one foot in front of the other. A dream fulfilled isn't for the feint of heart. It takes patience and perseverance. It takes a lot of self-talk to keep going after it. It takes a support system. For me, the main support in my system is my husband. He has encouraged me and fought for me, since I started writing seriously in 2008, after I graduated from The Institute for Children's Literature. He is my anchor and my biggest fan. He is honest, caring, and protective. He's my cheerleader. He makes dinner when I take a weekend to write. He does laundry, so there's more time for me to spend holed up in my office with my imagination. My children (by birth and by marriage) rejoice with me and cry with me. They tell me that they're proud of me for pursuing my dream, and now for reaching it, for the hard work of following my heart.
I once heard a world-class U.S. gymnast say that she had given up her senior prom in order to practice. That stunned me. It opened my eyes. I realized that it's okay to be different than my peers as I pursue my dream. It's okay to say no to what everyone else is doing. It's okay to say no to prom.