Hey everyone, I’m the guest on LA Sartor’s blog today talking about my latest release, Mountain Hearts. Hop on over and check it out. https://anindieadventure.blogspot.com/2018/04/author-spotlight-featuring-jill.html
It was a pretty uneventful Mother’s Day for me this year. My son did cook me a nice dinner, but the fact that my two grown daughters both now live out of state and were not here to celebrate was sad. The cold wet weather outside didn’t help my mood. I sat and reflected on all of my years as a mother. (This was my thirty sixth). As a single mother of three children money was often tight and I wasn’t able to always buy my kids the fancy things they wanted. Despite my shortcomings, they have all turned into amazing and successful adults. People often ask me how I raised such wonderful kids. I think the secret is just being there–for all their events and activities. Letting them know day by day that you support them in everything they do. That you are their biggest fan. That they are stars! This was really brought home to me this Mother’s Day, when I got the Facebook post from my youngest, now an Emergency Room doctor in a big city. Along with the several cute pictures of her and I throughout the years this picture was attached.
You see through all those years, I always managed to stick a little note in my kids backpack or athletic bag the day of a big game or meet. Just to let them know I loved them and would be there cheering them on. As you can see they were written on little sticky notes of scraps of paper. It didn’t matter, it let them know I cared. I had no idea my daughter had hung on to them for all these years. It was a great Mother’s day just knowing the love that is there, no matter what the distance in miles separate us. I love being a Mom!
I’m not a frequent flyer, I don’t travel that much and when I do, I usually opt for a road trip instead. I’ve never been a big fan of flying. But my daughters have recently moved out of state and I frequent Denver International Airport to pick them up and drop them off. There is something I love about airports. Every time I sit there waiting, I am amazed at how busy the airport is. At any given time of day , there are literally thousands of people coming and going. Last week, I picked my daughter up on a Wednesday morning. Who were all these people traveling in the middle of the week? Didn’t they have jobs? Or maybe they were traveling for work.
Anyway, last Wednesday, my daughter’s plane was slightly delayed, so I was sitting and waiting for her arrival, when I noticed this line of people. They were all clearly very excited, jumping up and down and conversing among themselves. After watching, like those around me for a few minutes, I walked over and asked if I could take a picture of them for my blog. I spoke to the lady that seemed to be in charge of the group. She told me that her son was coming home after a mission trip for their church to Brazil. They hadn’t seen him in two years! So his parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters and cousins had all assembled to welcome him home. As she told me their story, the lady who had been sitting next to me, a stranger, broke into tears of joy for them. As anxious as I was for my daughter to get there, it had been three months since I’d seen her, I found myself hoping that their son go there first so I could watch their celebration. Well, he did, and they all went crazy jumping up and down and taking their turns welcoming him home. This is one of his sisters.
Shortly thereafter, my own daughter arrived, and though she had been gone a much shorter time, I was equally excited to have her home.
Airports are happy places, places where people reunite with loved ones. They remind us of the value of human relationships. I love airports!
Driving through the town where I have lived for almost 40 years last week, I took a short cut through a new neighbor and there it was–a street named Haymaker Lane. Of course I had to jump out of my car and take a picture.
Growing up I didn’t like my name Jill Haymaker much. Jill wouldn’t have been a bad name, but the reason I got the name was that my dad’s name was Jack. I spent the early years of my childhood hearing over and over “Oh Jack and Jill that’s so cute!” To me it was just annoying. Then there was my last name. Do you have any idea how many jokes can be made about Haymaker. I got jokes about being a farmer (not that there is anything wrong with being a farmer, I just wasn’t one). Also there were the jokes about the knockout punch known as a Haymaker. I had one teacher in seventh grade who insisted on calling me Muhammed Ali the entire year. It was embarrassing. When I got to college and joined the Greek community, a bunch of clever frat boys changed it to Haybaler, which was then shortened to Baler and by my junior year everyone referred to me as “the baler.” Needless to say, I longed for a nice normal name like Smith or Jones. My dad on the other hand loved the uniqueness of our name. Every vacation we ever took, the first thing he would have my brother and myself do when we got to a motel was to pull out the phone book and look for Haymakers. He would delight every time there were none, which was the majority of the time.
So it will not surprise you that when I married someone with a much more common name, no tears were shed as I gave up Haymaker. I didn’t look back and quickly identified with my new last name. Even when I was divorced, I chose to keep my married name. Fast forward until two years ago when I began writing. Having a full time professional career, I immediately decided I needed a pen name. I was not sure that I wanted any professional clients connecting me to any steamy romances I might create. So at this point, had I been more creative, I probably would have made up a sexy. romantic sounding name, but since that was not the case, I decided to revert to my maiden name. It was easy–I wouldn’t forget it. I didn’t know if it was a good fit for a pen name, but then a wonderful writer friend of mine (thanks Pamela!) Came up with the following tag line “Haymaker to the heart-romance that knocks you off your feet.” I loved it! And I began to like my name.
What surprised me most was shortly before my first book signing, I realized maybe I should decide how I was going to sign my name that I hadn’t used in over thirty years. I sat down and without thinking wrote it out. Wow, I wrote it exactly like I had in high school all those years ago! It was spooky! Even though over the years, the way I wrote “Jill” had drastically changed as had many of the letters in “Haymaker”, when I signed it, I reverted back to my high school style. It brought back many happy memories. My dad had passed away at a young age many years ago and my brother, the sole remaining Haymaker in our line of the family, had no children so the name would die with him. Maybe this was a way to carry on the family name and honor the father I adored through my writing. For the first time in my life, I loved the name I was born with!