We Are the Authors of This Boy

Filed under: Family, In the Wild, Pondering, Stuff I Love, Writing for Children

This morning I dropped off my oldest for an 8th grade overnight field trip. As I watched the bus get smaller in my rearview mirror, I couldn’t help but feel all the feels.

This isn’t the first time that my 14yo has gone away without me. It happens in certain degrees and combinations more and more often as he grows. This summer there will even be a week of sleep away camp in his future. And in four years he’ll be graduating high school and preparing for college. But as I pulled away from the bus (way too early) what I noticed was my mixed feelings. I was infused with a combination of giddy excitement for him, confidence in who he is and a wee bit of sheer terror as I imagined my unprotected heart driving away on a bus where anything could happen. Anything. Car accident, terrorist bombing, escaped tiger from the zoo. Do I need to go on?

No–I absolutely don’t. And I mean that a little differently than you might expect…

The only time that worrying like that is beneficial is if an asteroid, plague, bomb or whatever is about to hit and I’m packing up the kids and preparing to run. Day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute–nothing good comes from imagining the worst. I simply have to trust that what we’ve given this boy so far, is enough for the task at hand. We’ve done our best.

But that wasn’t all I thought about on the two miles back home to the coffee pot. The true connection I made this morning was realizing how far this young man must travel in the next four years. Every day between now and then he will be in revision. If we do it right, we’ll slowly and methodically listen to what our main character is telling us and help him tweak his story. We’ll make sure we use the most effective words in all the right places and we’ll try to show instead of tell and yell and nag and preach. We’ll have to step back and make room for the cast of characters in his life, that over time, will have more and more weight in his story. We must also give the plot a chance to take turns we never expected. He’ll need that to be diverse and complicated and interesting to everyone who peeks beneath his cover. We’ll have to give him room to fail because no one wants to read a book where nothing happens. And we’ll have to be reminded that no book is ever perfect. Art is subjective. People are too. And even more important we’ll have to be reminded that sometimes distance is as important as persistence and diligence. And maybe the hardest thing will be knowing when to stop tinkering and when to let him stand on his own out in the world.


My husband and I are the authors of this boy, but if we do our jobs correctly, he will one day know how to write his own story.



10 Responses | TrackBack URL | Comments Feed

  1. This is my favorite blog post, ever. Perfect and such a wonderful perspective on parenting. Love this.

  2. Beautiful!

  3. This is so beautiful and so true!! As a mom of nine children who are at various stages of their lives (some writing their own stories in amazing ways already, others still unfolding) I am living this on so many levels- some children spread out all over the country, one called to Africa. It is exciting, terrifying and heart wrenching to watch and experience, but I feel so very blessed. Roots are easy to give our children…the wings are sometimes so much harder!! Thank you so much for this!

    • Wings!!!! And did you say NINE???? I’m sending you lots of chocolate. <3

  4. I love it! Amazing words~

  5. I loved it~ Amazing words~

  6. So eloquently expressed, Kim. With your love and support, your boy’s story will be a best seller.

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