Earlier this week I experienced one of my proudest moments as a parent, and I am being totally, unabashedly earnest when I talk about this. Like, this isn’t a post about Marlo making it through the day without injuring herself or breaking the law, although Universe, if you’re listening I’d gladly trade you one of my internal organs for a day like that.
Leta wrote a book. It has a title, chapters, a cohesive story line, and paragraphs of dialogue between characters. When she showed it to me I choked on my breath, I couldn’t believe it. And when Jon read it an involuntary WHOA Keanu Reeved its way out of his mouth.
The first thing I wanted to do after hugging her and telling her how proud I was, and did she know that dialogue is one of the hardest techniques to master as a writer? Sometimes I give up and just have people talking to each other in a paragraph without a comma or a set of quotes and just hope that in the end no one gets hurt or loses an eye.
I wanted to call my mom. Total flashback to 1993 when I aced a calculus exam, and the first thing I did was run back to my dorm to call my mom and say I DIDN’T FAIL AND END UP HOMELESS AFTER ALL!
So that’s what I did, I called my mom and gushed about my brilliant child. Not that I’m necessarily responsible for her brilliance (although I did give her LIFE and continue to provide shelter and food and episodes of SpongeBob), but I finally understand what my mother was feeling all those years when I brought home my report card. It’s like, wow, I nudged you out of the nest a little bit, and you soared on the wind. You soared on the wind and wrote dialogue!
My mother laughed knowingly and said she remembers those feelings of pride often. She said that I will have much more of that to look forward to, and welcome. Welcome to It Finally Paying Off. Years of sleepless nights and temper tantrums, and out of the tangled mess comes a human. Watching her learn to function on her own, my mom said, is the pinnacle of parenthood. It is the most satisfying part of sacrificing so much of yourself to this endeavor.
So that’s what I felt when I showed Leta how to use a broom and she swept up the entryway! THESE THINGS LEARN!