When I was growing up, I got the same tired lecture as everyone else: “I hope when you have kids, they are just like you.”
I’m not sure if this has happened yet. While my kids certainly took my genes and ran with them (poor kids), I’m not smart enough to judge their mannerisms and habits yet (although my wife is a genius at this). Yes, my son can throw a tantrum that reminds me of me but other than that, the verdict is out.
I work from home. I have three kids. The oldest is 6, the middle one is 4 (all boy and with the destructive force of a hurricane) and the youngest is 6 months.
Sometimes the father in me takes the controls at the keyboard when I’m writing. This can be awkward, especially when writing something as bleak as Nests. But it has helped my writing in a way (Nests, again as you’ll see when/if you read it).
From time to time, I do get the urge to stop writing and do something that will secure an actual paycheck once again. Freelancing is going alright, but let’s face it…no writer is ever going to be happy unless they can write for a living.
Still, the protectiveness and responsibility of being a father sometimes clashes with the selfish story-teller. When they do, there are some keen observations that I have made about the world. Some are inspiring and some are depressing.
You know, after all…you take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and then you have stuff like this:
* It depresses me to no end that my 6 year old daughter knows what Facebook is.
* My kids don’t really view the actual cordless phone in our house as “the phone.” No, “the phone” is one of those square things that mommy and daddy keep at their sides at all times.
* I love the fact that my kids get more excited about going to the library or a bookstore than they do a toy store.
* I love that when my my 6 year old daughter is reading, she will fight and struggle with a word for at least five minutes on her own before she’ll ask for help. (I don’t mind gloating here…she just started first grade and is reading on an almost 3rd grade level).
* I hate that I am so protective of my kids that my wife and I actually can’t decide if Home Alone is appropriate Christmas viewing for our 6 year old yet. I blame this on the violence the news constantly shows on television…
* I love the fact that my 4 year old son is all about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles right now. I grew up on them (screw G.I. Joe) so this is awesome for me.
* It’s pleasing to know that none of my kids sees the Kindle as a “book.” Books have covers and spines and actual pages you can turn.
* It’s depressing to know that all of my kids see the Kindle as the conduit for every other form of entertainment.
* My daughter is very much a Carly Rae Jepsen fan. I’m not so upset about this, though, as she also really likes the Ramones.
* I don’t have to worry about my kids wanting to read my stuff anytime soon. My daughter says “they are too big.” And there are no pictures, so my son doesn’t care.
* A few weeks ago, we caught my daughter writing a book. She had several sheets of notebook paper, some markers, and a stapler. She had stapled the pages together and made her own little book. It was called Everything Looks Blue.
She did not ask us for help. She wrote it herself. In it, everything turned blue. It was 12 pages long and had its own illustrations. Plot-wise, it is better than anything I have ever written. My wife and I asked what she was up to and she said she was “writing a book like Daddy.” My heart melted a little bit.
This parenting thing can be very rewarding. And so can the writer thing. I find it interesting that it can be easy to wear both hats at the same time but they often clash in peculiar ways.
In closing, I urge you t save some space in your Kindles (which really aren’t book) for Everything Is Blue.