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Oh for the love of . . .

. . . my kids.

Mr. Wright is out of town tonight, so it’s just the Wright brothers and me.  Already we’ve argued about what will be on the television while I make dinner. The argument was over whether we’d watch the Disney Channel or Unwrapped on the food channel. I lost.

So guess what we’re watching . . .

Yep. Unwrapped on the food channel. I swear these children are not mine. Why would they want to learn something on TV when they can have mindless entertainment? So, instead of a silly but fun show about teenage wizards, we’re learning about how the PEZ dispenser came into being and about some odd new pancake product called Batter Blaster.

The elder Wright Brother wants Batter Blaster bad. He is our family pancake maker and the Batter Blaster apparently is the newest rage in pancake making. I hadn’t made my first pancake until I was in college, and here is my ten year old, scoping out new ways to fine tune his breakfast making experiences.

The younger Wright brother has determined he wants an edible bouquet instead of cake for his birthday because it’s healthier (fruit instead of pastries), and he no longer drinks soda pop because he thinks soda pop is bad for you. Honestly! I did not teach them any of this. They are totally on their own when it comes to this total weirdness. I now get lectures about my Dr. Pepper habits.

The kids teach me a lot as we move through our time together, but I’ve taught them some pretty valuable things too, such as:

  • How to cuss in traffic
  • How to brush teeth
  • How to critique the dialogue in movies out loud in the theater
  • How to throw tantrums
  • How to read
  • How to irritate people with semantics
  • How to pick up litter
  • How to be a sore loser at Monopoly (which I refuse to play with them anymore because they gang up on me)

As you can see from the list, some of the stuff they learned from me is actually useful. I miss the daughter a lot and, in spite of teaching mostly less than useful life skills, still wish she was around for me to teach. She’ll be home for the summer in just two and a half months. Yay! This whole child rearing business is one well worth taking on.

Oh and I finished writing the manuscript, Spell Check, last month and have already started my new WIP tentatively called Dream Writers. I’m into it nearly fifty pages and so far loving the manuscript.

Struck by The Lightning Thief

I admit I am arrogant enough to say I write great books. But every now and again, I run across an author that turns me ten shades of green (the envy kind).

My middle son wasn’t fond of books. His dyslexia put him behind in the reading area for a long time. We led him to graphic novels, which he seemed to do better with and every month he became a stronger reader, but he still didn’t enjoy reading. It was a source of agony to me, a writer, to have a child who doesn’t love reading like I love reading.

I decided to start reading aloud with him to help him along in school last year and we picked up the Lightning Thief (yes, I know we’re behind the times and should have done this three years ago). Most of our out-loud reading involved only one chapter a day. Time is a commodity and my voice doesn’t hold out for too long.

 

Then one day he came home, found the book, and begged for three chapters. He said, “Please.” He offered to mop the kitchen floor, clean his room, and go to boy scouts without complaint.

A chapter for each “chore” and he used the word please.

This is nothing short of miraculous. When we finished the third chapter (this is after chores were done and after dinner), he scampered to bed with the words, “You’re the best mom! Tomorrow we can do four chapters. I’ll even clean the bathrooms so you have more time.”

I was all astonishment. My child was doing chores and loving reading. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Something as miraculous as this needed to be shared, so I wrote the author, Rick Riordan, to let him know how fantastic he is. And do you know what? He was as kind and funny and gracious as an author ever could be. I hope when I write books cool enough to be chore-worthy, that I can behave like Rick.

I know it’s been a month, but . . .

I’ve been incoherently busy this last month. With work, several tradeshows for my store, and random writing and editing that had to be done, I can’t believe I found time to breathe. I wrote nearly 20,000 words which is no record breaking number but is still progress towards a completed novel.

It all comes back to normal life monday afternoon. I am in Vegas right now. Last week I was at the LDSBA in Salt Lake City. I had a great time at that convention hanging out with good friends. It was fun to get to see Michael McLean and hear the Tabernacle Choir resonate throughout the Tabernacle in downtown Salt Lake. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing brought me to my feet as applause thundered all around. What an amazing performance.

My release for the novel, Eyes Like Mine, has been pushed back to July. It’ll be better for sales in the long run, but it is sooooo hard to wait that long.

It’s been a trying month as a mother. I’ve spent several nights staring into my sleeping children’s rooms and wondering if I really wept for all those years I thought I was infertile. Beyond the regular drama that comes with parenthood, the dog got hit by a truck. It isn’t just any dog, it’s Rae’s dog. My nephew was staying at my house and came in while I was packing to tell me that the dog had been hit. I ran outside to a horrible scene. My thirteen year old daughter cradled the limp bloody body of her dog in her arms as she screamed, “My  dog! my dog! They hit her! They killed her!” In my entire life, I have never heard anything more jarring and disturbing as her shrill screams. 

I took the dog from her to hurry and assess the situation. The dog didn’t move, but she was stil breathing. I kept assuming that each breath was the last. There was no way an animal bleeding so violently from the mouth and so limp in the body could survive. 

But I looked up at my daughter as she chanted, “Fix her!” over and over again. How it reminded me of all the times when she has come to me throughout her life and demanded I fix something that I just couldn’t. The cookie that broke in half when she dind’t feel like eating a broken (and therefore less-than-worthy) cookie, the doll missing a leg due to puppy chewing, the glass tinker bell that fell and shattered.

Meeting Rae’s eyes and seeing the trust she placed in me to fix this, to make it better, to bandage it, and kiss it and make it all okay was more than I could handle. I looked back down and found that the dog was looking at me with the same demand as I’d found in my daughter’s eyes. “Fix it! Fix it!” I went in and called the vet with absolutely no hope that the dog had any chance to live, but unable to handle the insistence of both child and animal. After a few moments on the phone with the vet (who left me with even smaller hope that the dog would live) I decided to take the dog in.

I made Rae go with me.

And it turns out the  dog was fixable for a very high price tag, a tag I couldn’t see how we’d be able to pay. But there was my daughter and the dog staring at me with those demanding eyes. There were the shrill screams still bouncing off the insides of my skull. I consented to the surgery. Copper (the dog) gave me a feeble flick of her tail in gratitude. Later, Rae hugged me so tight I almost couldn’t breathe. “Thanks for making it better.”

By saving the dog, I saved my daughter’s faith in me, for a little while longer, that I can still make the world better. That’s something I can’t put a price tag on.