Nearly 10 years ago, I experienced one of those defining moments that completely changed my life — and definitely for the better!
It wasn’t the purchase of a grand new home, a dream vacation to Hawaii or discovering that I wouldn’t be stoned after my first attempt at karaoke (the theme to the "Love Boat" — go ahead and boo hiss). Nope, it was something far more important — I was hired by The North Kingstown View and The East Greenwich Monthly as a writer.
I had spent my years after college working full-time in a local dental practice as the office manager. That was my first “real” job, and I loved all 15 years of it. Not only did I work in a top-notch, high-quality and interesting environment, I happened to get one of the best perks I could’ve ever asked for — a husband! (Thank you Dr. Delmonico!)
Yep, on my 21st birthday (a day I was not supposed to work due to party plans by friends and family), I filled in for someone who had a sick child, and met my husband when he came in to have his teeth cleaned. Talk about fate! We got married two years later and I’m happy to report that after nearly 25 years of marriage, we’re still flossing together on a regular basis!
When I first saw the NK View’s ad for writers, I had since retired from my career in the dental field and was a full-time, stay-at-home mom to seven kids, ages 9 and under. How I even remembered how to read a magazine back then is still beyond me, but am I ever grateful I found the time.
Writing has always been my true love (other than my family, faux finish treatments and pinot grigio), but I never pursued it seriously because it was always one of those careers that guidance counselors and even well-meaning family members tried to shoo me away from. The life of a starving writer just didn’t seem that appealing; caring for cavity-ridden teeth seemed more of a sure thing.
While I was pregnant with our seventh child, we bravely took our growing family on a summer vacation to Disney World. The commotion we caused everywhere we went was something I never expected.
By the end of the week, I was so tired of answering curious on-lookers' questions about whether or not the kids were all ours or did we have a blended family, I turned my frustration into an essay that was published by The Providence Journal, titled “Yes, We Have Seven Kids and are Proud of It.”
And so it began! The essay was very well-received by both proponents of large families and those who wished we would be a bit more conscious of the carbon footprint our deluxe family would be leaving on the planet.
The comment that continued to catch my attention, however, was “Cheryl, I didn’t know you could write! You should keep at it.”
Those encouraging words were all I needed to hear, and soon I began watering my creative seed and promised myself that I would search for an opportunity that would allow me to continue my love of writing all while raising my brood.
During the course of being a regular contributor with the magazines, I’ve branched out and written for national magazines, local newspapers, on-line publications such as our wonderful Patch; have been published in a handful of anthology series such as "Chicken Soup for the Soul"; am the adviser of the Pier Middle School’s newspaper, The Mariners’ Catch, and wrote and published my first book, "Pregnant Women Don’t Eat Cabbage," in 2010. (Shameless plugs ... forgive me!)
Most recently, synchronicity has played an important part in landing me a new writing gig with MacMillan Publishing in New York City as their new Mighty Mommy host. Each week I will be writing a parenting column that will reflect on the various twists of parenthood, and doing a podcast of the article.
Because you have all been like family to me, my first loyal readers to join me in the ups and downs of family life, I invite you to visit here to share in this journey.
I look forward to my continued writing relationship with The Narragansett-South Kingstown and North Kingstown Patch sites (I hope you do as well!) and the opportunity share my family column (the good, the bad and the amazing) with you, our loyal readers.
I’m so happy I took a chance on myself by reaching out to the editor of the NK View more than 10 years ago, which in turn became the inspiring springboard to my writing career. Even more so, I’m so glad I never have to live with the regret of “what if” — something far too many of us do in order to avoid potential failure, the most important lesson this Mighty Mommy hopes she can share with parents, kids and all of you awesome readers alike.
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