I love my family and love my friends. I have friends I’ve known for almost my whole life. We stay in contact and still care what happens to each other, maybe more than ever now that we’re older. We’ve been through marriages, divorces, births, serious illnesses, and death, but our bonds are still strong. They’re family and in some ways closer because we knew each other through grade school, teen years, through schoolgirl crushes, loves, college, travels, and beyond. We were silly and stupid and crazy together and did things I’d never admit to my own children. One made me promise I wouldn’t tell her son that she drove 100 miles an hour down the beach road with me riding shotgun. Of course I never would.
My sons are gone, living their own lives. I love the women they’ve chosen, so I’m lucky in that respect. The closest is four hours away by car; the other farther. In 2014, I became a grandmother for the first time at--cough-cough, sputter-sputter--years old. Ella is very much like her daddy: determined, smart, and fearless, with a touch of temper. She's a charmer, and I have no doubt she’ll turn out to be as fine a person as both her parents. It had been thirty-three years since I held an infant, but it all came back to me as if it were yesterday. The warmth of the cuddle, the sweet baby fragrance.
Last year, my husband became ill. Illness changes people and it changes lives, whether it’s your illness or someone you love. It tests you until you wonder how strong you are or how patient, how loving and compassionate. I try. I don’t think I always succeed.
And then there’s Bogie, my dog, a stray my son rescued from the streets of Savannah. The pup had my name written all over him, and he wound up in the perfect place, for him and for me. I say my dog because he’s totally attached to me. He follows me everywhere, even sleeps with me. I’m never alone even at my loneliest, and he makes me smile every day, even when I don’t feel like smiling.
Whatever genre we write, we draw from deep inside us those life experiences we remember with a clarity we could never convey if we hadn't felt them. Love is one of the most powerful of all emotions. Who among us fails to remember our first love, though decades have passed, the sweet smell of a newborn, or the warmth and security of a beloved parent? Happy Love Month.
Polly Iyer is the author of eight novels: standalones Hooked, InSight, Murder Déjà Vu, Threads, and Indiscretion, and three books in the Diana Racine Psychic Suspense series, Mind Games, Goddess of the Moon, and Backlash. A Massachusetts native, she makes her home in the beautiful Piedmont region of South Carolina. You can visit her website for more on Polly and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.