Christi Caldwell – The Joy of Being Happy

August is Read-A-Romance Month!


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Romance – Instruments of Beauty & Joy

When my son was 2 years-old he was hospitalized. Forced to sell our home, my husband and I left my family behind, and moved to a one bedroom apartment in the heart of a Christi Caldwell ForLoveofDukeharsh Connecticut winter. It was one of the snowiest, coldest winters in years, I was told. Great. Just great. Everything was so cold and dreary and difficult, so why not the weather too?  I have this vivid memory that remains with me of bundling my son up in the frigid weather and driving to all the local bookstores and grocery stores in search of Alexandra Hawkins’ then latest book, “All Night With a Rogue”. You would have thought I was hunting the pot of gold at the end of the proverbial rainbow, and yet for me, it might as well have been.

I am the mother of a child with special needs. I want to preface this post by saying my life is a good one. I love everything about my life and I would never change it. And it’s only through years of earning pitying looks or being offered sympathetic words I even offer that. That said, being the parent of a child with special needs is not always, perhaps ever, easy. As the mother of a child with Down syndrome, a good portion of my life is spent traveling to therapies, specialists, and various doctors.

It involves more patience than I ever knew I’d been blessed with. Through the joy I Christi Caldwell ForeverBetrothedknow in being the mother to this wonderfully special, courageous boy there is also much heartache that goes with that. The spoken words you crave to hear from your child’s lips. The birthday parties and playdates that you and your child never get invited to or on. Oftentimes, the life of a special needs parent is a lonely one. Of course, I’m blessed with a wonderful partner on this journey I’m on, in my husband. And yet, this life is one of extreme realness and struggle.

So many times, I’ve been asked ‘why do you read ‘that’. That as in romance novels. Spoken in such a way that it is as though a person is embarrassed to so much as mention the words romance and novels in the same thought. The answer I have now as a woman, different than the girl of thirteen who first began reading them, is that they make me happy. They provide an escape through heroes and heroines who are not unlike each of us; ultimately craving and fighting for their love and happiness. And life is hard enough, so that a world where happily ever after is always guaranteed, is a world I want to be part of.

For me, that is what makes the romance novel such an instrument of beauty and joy. On those pages I read and now write, I craft these broken worlds of people who struggle and deserve a happily ever after. And in those writings, I find my joy. I find my great escape. I find a whole world that exists where life can be hard, and struggles great, but ultimately love and happiness triumph.

Questions for the Author:

Tell us about a moment in your life when you experienced sheer joy. 

After having been told I’d likely never conceive and then going on to years of fertility treatments, I Christibecame pregnant. A few hours after I gave birth to my son, my doctor came in and said those words that at the time shattered my world: “There have been concerns raised that your baby might have Down syndrome.” That suspicion was confirmed four days later through a karyotype screening.

Fighting through fear and sadness, I came out on the other side to find the meaning of true happiness. It wasn’t until I came to know my son that I discovered, joy isn’t about what we have, or where we go, or fame, or anything of the material. Joy is in those simple moments I’d taken for granted before him. Joy is hearing him call you “Mama” after two years of wondering if your child will ever speak. Joy is seeing the fruition of countless therapies result in those tiny, first faltering steps into my arms. And the best part is through each milestone and accomplishment I would have once taken for granted, I experience true, uninterrupted joy every day.

Tell us about a place that brings you joy, or is attached to a memory of joy.

Most people hate doctors’ office. I hate most of them. But there is one particular room in one particular office forever attached to the memory of joy. After my son was born, my husband and I warriored on through ten more, excruciating rounds of IVF. At the 9th round, my doctor sat us down and told us it was time to put our ‘dream’ to rest. He would do a tenth and final round. That was our goodbye. And of courseChristi's twins that was our miracle.

But the journey didn’t stop…because when you are an IVF patient, you have labs and ultrasounds. I will always recall sitting in the doctor’s office on that June day. My doctor was late. Very late. More than an hour late. That wait was agony. Another doctor in the practice took mercy on my husband and me. He brought us into a too small room for an ultrasound. He stopped midway through and looked at us with this slow, happy smile. I’ll forever remember the moment he held up two fingers in a V sign. Two babies. My twins. ☺

Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

As I mentioned…with my son, things don’t come to him the way they do a ‘typical’ child. For the first year of his life, I didn’t think I would ever hear him speak. And I knew from friends in my support network, that some children with Down syndrome did not.

The year he turned 1, he was still not babbling. Not a single consonant. And I would be lying if I didn’t tell you I didn’t think about it every day. Worry about it. Hunger to hear the hint of a word from him. Then,  precisely one year and one day to the date of his birth, my husband and I were lying in bed…it was 5:30 am, a sound came through the crackle and occasional beep of our monitor. “MamaDadaBabaMamaBabaDada”. Who knew babbling consonants could be more beautiful than any other sound? It was the sweetest song I could have myself never have written. In that moment, I slid my eyes closed and just knew joy.

What recent book have you read that brought you joy. (Or a book you read in your life that brought you so much joy you’ve never forgotten it.) Why?

I was a rather lonely girl. Those voids of friendships were filled with the pages of books. When I was fifteen, I discovered Julie Garwood. More specifically, Julie Garwood’s “The Secret”. The moment her two fictional heroines, Judith and Frances Catherine met as children in the prologue, I was hooked. Fortunately, it was during my summer vacation. I devoured the pages of that book; a story about friendship that defied politics and history, where these brave women then ultimately each found happiness and love with wonderful heroes. In fact, I read it straight through in one night; finished it as morning was breaking. I remember closing the book and running my palms over it…and knowing that someday I would write.

And for fun, the joy of choice ~

Pick your Chris! Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, Chris Pratt, Chris Rock, Chris Evans or Christopher Plummer (circ. 1964 aka Capt. Von Trapp?) – trying for a little diversity! ;o)

Chris Pratt please!! ☺

Christi is generously giving away a $30 Amazon gift card and one series starter collection from her Heart of a Duke series (For Love of the Duke), Scandalous Seasons series (Forever Betrothed, Never the Bride), and Brethren of the Lords Series (My Lady of Deception)! Enter below.

Christi Caldwell USA TODAY Bestselling author CHRISTI CALDWELL blames Judith McNaught’s “Whitney, My Love!” for luring her into the world of historical romance. While sitting in her graduate school apartment at the University of Connecticut, Christi decided to set aside her notes and pick up her laptop to try her hand at romance. She believes the most perfect heroes and heroines have imperfections, and she rather enjoys torturing them before crafting them a well deserved happily ever after! 

Christi makes her home in southern Connecticut where she spends her time writing her own enchanting historical romances, chasing around her feisty six-year-old son and caring for her twin princesses in training!

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