I am 52 years old and have lived in Cedar Rapids my entire life, except for a couple of months when I visited Colorado and Tennessee to do a little “exploring.”
I have 3 daughters, and a son, my youngest, who has a developmental disability. He is autistic and diagnosed with ADHD, which made it difficult for him to learn how to read or write. The doctors told us at one time that they doubted he would be able to live on his own, but because stubbornness and determination runs in our family, we proved them wrong.
I did my best to teach him how to be responsible and pay his bills and take care of other business, but the rest is up to him. He is so smart about somethings but oblivious to others. His autism makes him socially-awkward, and it takes most people time to warm up to him.
Last year, Sean met Ashley. She is a nice person with a good heart, and I am very happy they found each other. They are getting married Aug. 15, and though it seems as though they are the perfect fit, they will have a lot of challenges to overcome. Sean has a hard time keeping a job because of his disability, and she will just have to either accept it, or not.
My middle daughter, Caryn, just moved to Chesapeake, Virginia, with her husband and 4 children. This is the first time anyone in our little family has moved more than 20 miles from home. I was happy for them when they moved because it’s a chance to finally get ahead, but I miss them.Last night I was able to Skype successfully for the first time, and it made me feel a little closer to them. Caryn is having a tough time being so far from home, but I know once she starts her new job, she will be too busy to miss us.
My other two daughters, Holly and Lori, live in town. I get to see them and my other five grandchildren pretty regularly, which is a wonderful thing because spending time with my family is one of my favorite things to do.
I have three jobs. I work full-time as a receptionist/office administrator at McGrath’s Dodge car dealership. I am a program assistant for Cedar Rapids Main Street (an organization that helps preserve the historical district in CR), and work for Metro Sports Report, an online sports magazine, as a web editor.
I’ve had to cut my night hours back dramatically, which has help my stress level, but I’m still finding that I don’t have time to do everything I want. I guess it’s all about priorities.
I’ve published three books on CreateSpace, a self-publishing company. Between Worlds, my first, is a 3-book teen sci-fi series. I came across CreateSpace by accident and wanted to experience the life of a published author. (It’s quite a thrill to hold your own book in your hands for the first time!)
I am working on my third and final book in the series, which has been more difficult than the first two. I love the way my character, Mya, has developed since I began the book, one of the reasons I want to continue writing books.
I also compiled my family’s recipes in a cookbook, which I gave the title, Homemade in the Heartland. I have always loved to cook, and when my daughters started asking me to write my recipes down, the book took on a life of its own.
I live with my mother, who is homebound. She only leaves the house to go to the doctor. I stay with her because the only other option would be have her go to a nursing home and I don’t want her to have to do that. I want to help make the rest of her life as comfortable as I can, and I think that is by staying with her. If there ever comes a day when a nursing home is the only choice, I think she will already understand that.
I love my life. It’s not perfect, but it wasn’t meant to be. I am grateful and content and live a life where I am at peace, even when the world around me is in chaos. To me, that equals happiness.
The journey I’ve taken to get here wasn’t easy, but it was so worth it. But that’s another story.