On Tuesday, my husband and I leave for our novelmoon.
What’s a novelmoon, you ask? Well, it’s kind of like a babymoon: a trip a couple takes to reconnect before the birth of their child (my novel, in this case).
You see, my husband and I have gone through a lot of changes in the past year and a half. I finished The Outcast, gave birth to a baby girl, signed a two-book publishing contract with Tyndale House when she was twelve weeks old; then – in the throes of sleep deprivation — I immediately began working on The Midwife.
My dear husband walked beside me every step of the way. He came home early from work to babysit, so I could do conference calls. He watched her for a few hours, so I could stay at the library to write. He washed dishes, changed diapers, made egg sandwiches, fed the dog so I could finish my edits for The Outcast.
In the midst of all of this, we sold our business to my sister-in-law and brother-in-law, made plans to move to a waterfall property, then I chickened out, and now our house is up for sale.
Did I mention that I hate change?
I could live on the same piece of property for my entire life. I actually imagined doing this. I imagined a home like in Little Women, where my children could return and dig through dusty boxes where I’ve stored every memento since they were born.
I imagined working the same patch of soil spring after spring: tilling it and weeding it, churning it with rich fertilizer and harvesting the bounty, the only difference each season the gradual aging of my hands.
However, my husband does not like to live in the same place very long. He believes not moving around leads to stagnation—and a plague of mosquitoes, I guess.
And so I am at a crossroads of give and take, push and pull, when I really just want to remain standing right where I am. Rooted, solid, the hills beside me and black earth beneath my feet.
But, my husband has already given so much. He has supported me when I could have never been a novelist on my own. When I would’ve been a literal starving artist who slunk around hotel lobbies at continental breakfast time, so I could slight-of-hand stale bagels in the pockets of my tattered coat.
He was the one who, over this past year of new motherhood, told me I could do it when I did not think I had the strength to write another sentence. Like Professor Bhaer helped sustain Josephine March (yes, I just love Little Women), time and time again he’s taken our sweet baby and handed me a red glass plate arranged with pretzels, goat cheese, and avocado, so I wouldn’t just wither away as I pushed toward deadline. He has held me and loved me and put up with my writing woes and exhalations (sometimes in the same day).
And so, now I will support him as well. I will pull these sluggish feet of mine out of the topsoil, and and I will fly with him to Montana with an open heart and open eyes. I will use this trip as a way of letting him know that, without him, I would not be on the cusp of seeing The Outcast born; that, without him, there would be no adventure . . . no novelmoon . . . no brilliant compatibility of us.
Do you believe that give and take requires an even 50% or that the balance shifts back and forth over time?