My Novel Life

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Kathy Radigan
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My dishwasher's possessed!

This week I feel every one of my 46 years. My nerves are shot. I'm tired and more than a little cranky. I'm in need of a makeover, or more appropriately, a rewrite.

After years of guiltily reading romance novels, I've decided to take a page from one of them and reframe my life in the fashion of a novel. I may even put a picture of my dishwasher dressed in a flowing gown on the cover. 

The working title: A Woman Possessed by Love, Family and Her Dishwasher.

Now under the haze of romance writing, I can give myself a makeover that I just don't have time for in real life.

First things first, I've never been happy with my height. I think I have way to big of a frame to be only 5'3", so in my novel I am transformed from a short brunette into a petite brunette: 

Although lacking in the height her frame would seem to call for, Kathy's lack of height gives her a gentle, almost doll like appearance. 

Now what do I do with my out-of-shape, almost 46-year-old body that has had three children, with the last one coming at the age of 39?

Kathy's voluptuous figure, more curvy and full than ever before, fits a woman who has lived life fully. Her round hips are her badge of honor from three hard-won and difficult pregnancies. It was hard not to be grateful to the body that carried her children from the man that is her husband and soul mate.

A few lines and wrinkles? Who needs Botox or plastic surgery? I have a computer and a memory full of romance novels. 

Kathy may no longer have the glow of youth, but the sands of time have been gently carved on her still porcelain skin. This has only added character to her unique beauty. Much like a fine wine that gets better with age, Kathy's beauty reflects a life full of experience. She is a classic beauty that never goes out of style.

I may have gone a little overboard, but hey, it's my book. 

What I love the most about romance novels is that all the problems and trials that the heroine endures are wrapped up in less than a thousand pages. 

I would love it if some of the more difficult times in my life could be summed up so neatly.

Of course, the chapters I would love to be able to jump over the most are the ones that deal with our beautiful daughter, Lizzy. 

Lizzy has been an enigma to me and the medical community since she was six weeks old and I realized she was not looking at me like she should have. We have gone to so many doctors, specialists, and therapists that I feel I have earned my own degree in all syndromes related to Lizzy.

How can one little girl have so many issues and delays yet so many gifts at the same time? Watching our beautiful daughter struggle with things people take for granted, such as the ability to express herself when she wants to, is a pain I will never be able to express.

Her special needs are at their most apparent when she is sick. Lizzy can't always feel and express the pain she feels, and we don't know she's sick until the symptoms are at their worst. I also fear that every sneeze, cough, or infection Lizzy gets is somehow related to her undiagnosed brain disorder. 

This week, watching Lizzy cough so hard that she turns red and throws up has been hard. Knowing she is in pain and so uncomfortable, yet not able to really tell me what is going on makes it even worse.

Even more heartbreaking is Lizzy's incredible spirit. She will be all red in the face with vomit all over her and yet when one of us asks her how she is she replies with a smile, "I'm good."

After three trips to the doctor in less than a week it looks like it's possible that she has whooping cough. Of course, it's my sweet Lizzy who ends up with this, even though she has had every vaccination a child should have.

It's times like this when she seems so fragile that I fear that one day I will lose her. I would be lying if I didn't say at times that fear keeps me up at nights.

This is when I would love to put the book of my life down and pick it up at a later chapter. A time when everything is settled, and my children are all grown, safe, and happy.

I can see the last chapter I would love to read:

Kathy watches her beautiful daughter, the child that no doctor could diagnosis or explain. The child she was told would never live on her own, and she could feel nothing but pure joy. There Lizzy stood, all grown up. Her beautiful dark hair spilling onto her shoulders, smiling and full of pride as she stood by her paintings. Kathy could see the buzz around her daughter as the critics were touting Lizzy as the next "hot" artist. All of a sudden the years of pain, and fear were gone. Lizzy was a happy, independent woman.

Of course, the hardest thing for me to accept is that I'm not the author of any of my children's stories. Lizzy, as well as my two beautiful sons, will have to write their own "books" and their own happy endings.

I can only concentrate on my own.

Looking over her life, Kathy, still stunningly beautiful at the age of 85, smiled as she marveled at the happy endings each of her children were able to write for themselves. Though not the endings she may have chosen for them, she was grateful that all three had grown into happy, kind adults.

This is a life and a book worth reading to the end.