People who live great lives never know what they're getting into ahead of time -- they just manage to exist in a way that fascinates other people.
Whenever I've dreamed ahead, or looked forward to something, it never turns out like I imagined. Real experiences don't care what we want.
And here comes the close-out for the year 2015. My debut year that wasn't. A year that did not go as planned, so much so that I made a list:
1) I had a bizarre and random health scare that directly impacted work.
2) I lost my son's day care through particularly unfortunate circumstances.
3) There has been a lot of loss around me -- the kind that would have broken lesser humans, including myself. And it brought back some feelings from the past that I'd much rather have kept back there.
4) I bounced between feeling like the best and worst father on a daily basis.
5) Oh yeah, there was that one thing about my book losing its publisher. That hit me like a bag of poop to the face.
So yeah, 2015 threw me a lot of surprises. And these weren't so much surprise-party-on-your-multiple-of-ten-birthday surprises so much as pigeon-dumped-on-your-shoulder-while-walking-under-the-El-tracks surprises.
I got to thinking about that list. I drew an imaginary T-chart in my mind's eye, and put it in the left column. Then I added things to the right column to balance it out.
1) I'm still standing at work and giving all I can to my students. Parents had kind words for me at parent-teacher conferences. How bad can things be when people are going out of their way to assure you things are okay?
2) My parents jumped in to help with daycare, and my son is doing better than ever with so much individual love and attention. Many parents can't afford daycare, and don't have parents capable of helping.
3) The people I've watched experience loss are healing in their own personal ways. They will make it through the darkness, and while they won't be unscathed, none of us are at the end of the day.
4) Maybe it's possible that I make both good and bad parental decisions sometimes, and that's the best parents can expect from themselves.
5) It sucks to lose a publisher, but it's really great to land a new one. It makes for a great debut story. And I still have the Fall Fifteeners, and Fearless Fifteeners, and Sweet Sixteens backing me up every step of the way. The kidlit community rocks my face off.
Maybe 2015 didn't go the way I wanted it to at all, and that's okay.
Mike Grosso is the author of I AM DRUMS, a debut contemporary middle grade novel for musicians of all ages. It was orphaned due to the closing of Egmont USA, but has found a new home at Clarion Books and an updated release date of September 6, 2016. The Fall Fifteeners have been nice enough to let him hang out even though he's technically a sixteener now.
You can visit Mike's website here or follow him on Twitter @mgrossoauthor.