1. “Angels with dirty faces.” Although all are still children—one taller than I am— my heart squeezes with love when one throws his arms around my waist, tilts his head back for a kiss, and grins like a little devil. I become a blubbering mess when I receive hand-written thank-you letters and drawings; when they say please and thank you; clear their own plates and utensils from the table; say grace with his brother when no one else is at the table; and yelling “Watch this!”, when doing something daring. Are they perfect? Heavens, no! But it doesn’t get much better than this.
2. When every appliance in my house, every piece of electronic equipment, and both vehicles work! I hate it when I have to shop for a new refrigerator, television, or car. It’s always another learning experience and aggravation I can do without. I dread having to call a repairman to come to the house, having them tromp in and out, taking who knows how long, putting me on hold while they take over. Why don’t refrigerators last 30 years like they used to?
3. An all-girls road trip! Once a year, four of us take off, no men allowed, and where we go and what we do is our business. “What happens in….” Don’t worry, we wouldn’t do anything we’d be ashamed about! The Great Escape is all that matters.
4. Finishing a WIP! –especially one that caused so much trouble, refusing to cooperate with MY plans for the plot, going off on its own tangents, creating havoc where there was none, a background character taking over, causing me to stop, ponder, and begin again. Like raising a recalcitrant child, I am ecstatic when the WIP finally reaches adulthood and turns out to be a worthwhile creation after all.
5. An e-mail from a publisher in response to a submitted manuscript saying: “Congratulations! We love your story and wish to give you a contract in its present form. You do not need to re-write the plot, remove any POVs, or add any more internal or external conflict. Your storyline is great, your transitions are wonderful, and your characters leap off the page.” Okay, in my dreams, so I’ll definitely be very happy to receive one that says: “Congratulations. We would like to offer you a contract for your manuscript. While your writing is good, we will need to polish and edit it to some degree. If you’re willing to work with us, Welcome Aboard.” Then, I would do a little happy dance and run to tell my husband my good news.