Motherhood and My Pen

October 24, 2011

Today my youngest son turns twenty. It’s hard for me to believe that twenty years have gone by since the doctor laid him on my chest with his thick blond hair and amazing blue eyes. Joey is the youngest of three boys. Each of them is incredible in their own right.

What does this have to do with writing? Probably more than anything else in my life. I started writing my first newspaper column at the age of twenty-two for The Butterfield Express in Sunnymead, California. It was a parenting column, my oldest son, Gerrod was less than a year old, and I of course knew all there was to know about parenting and wanted to share it with parents everywhere. A lot has changed since then. The Butterfield Express no longer exists, nor does Sunnymead, which is now part of Moreno Valley. My oldest son is twenty-nine with two younger brothers. And although at twenty-two with one small child I thought I was an expert parent, years later with three grown children whom I absolutely adore, I am astounded that they turned out to be such wonderful young men despite my lack of parenting skills. Nearly thirty years of parenting has taught me that this is a learn-as-you-go job.

My kids have been part of my writing in some way for many years. When I wrote “The Penny Pincher” for The Antelope Valley Press and cooked for the newspaper’s photo shoots, one or more of my boys—or just various body parts—often ended up in newspaper photo shots. There was the very first photo the Press took. It was supposed to be a picture of me at my dining table next to a pot of Flemish Beef Stew. The table was set, and one plate was served at an empty seat. The picture that they used included my two-year-old middle son, who had climbed up into the chair next to the plate that had been served and was eating. I didn’t even know he was there; I was so busy looking at the camera. My oldest son Gerrod’s hand appears in a photo of a super bowl spread, and Joey the Birthday Boy’s belly appears in a photo of Upside Down foods. The photographers thought it would be fun to hang him upside down (he was about two years old) over a plate of sticky buns—just out of reach of course. Boy did he want those sticky buns…

The boys have made appearances in much of my writing. They are after all, along with my hunky husband, the center of my life. Sometimes they wish I had other things to distract me, but they have been my primary focus. They show up in blogs, articles, short stories and even a children’s book that I wrote and need to shop, “The Case of the Missing Belly Button.” (I had a third-degree sprain to my right ankle and was on crutches and in bed for six weeks…with a three-year-old Joey at home. We sat in bed and wrote the belly button story with Joey as the main character and his brothers helping to solve the mystery.)

Even when the boys aren’t subjects of my writing, they influence it. They’ve changed who I am and by doing so made my life and my writing richer. They’ve challenged my ideals, strengthened my values and made my life more fulfilled…and more important.

So Happy Birthday, Joey…I really can’t believe you are twenty years old, especially when I’m only 28 (okay, at heart). Thank you and your brothers for being amazing and making my life so much richer.

All my love, Mom


2 Responses to “Motherhood and My Pen”

  1. Happy Birthday to Joey, and Happy Birthday to Joey’s mom. 🙂

  2. taristhread Says:

    Thank you!! From both of us…

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