Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Parent Jitters

I wish I could blog about how thrilled I am to have completed my first semester at Vermont College, what a ride it's been, how much I've learned, how much better my writing has gotten, all of that good stuff, but today, this week's professional accomplishment has been entirely overshadowed by something so much bigger.

My oldest goes in for minor surgery tomorrow.  She's having her adenoids removed and turbinades shrunken. She's a mouth breather, is going through the joys of orthodontic work, and needs more breathing room.

It's minor surgery. Twenty minutes tops.

But it's a full anesthesia. Granted, that's what my husband does. Not that he's doing hers. Not a good idea to work on your own loved ones. He'll be in the OR, though, which is great. Still, I'm worried. This is my baby. My little girl. My responsibility.
Will everything go all right? How will her recovery be? Is the pain manageable?

I don't even want to go to that one question that circles around on the perimeter of all the other worried parent questions. It's like, if I give voice to that question, I'm inviting disaster.

I'm not the only one who worries like this, am I? Am I overdoing it? Okay, maybe. I keep telling myself it could be a lot worse. There are greater things to overcome. But denying my feelings isn't working all that well today.

So, I guess I'm going to bury myself in my writing. And when my baby gets home after school, hug and hug and hug her.

Somewhere, in all that, I hope to find my courage.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Honey, I'm Home...

They say role reversal can pep up your marriage.  My husband is home this week chilling on the couch. I'm at work.

Okay, okay, I don't normally spend my days when he's not home on the couch in front of a roaring fire popping bon bons, but, you know, I sometimes get the feeling my husband thinks I do. I'm a writer. What else can I be doing for long stretches of time while he's off working?

Other writers know what goes on in the daily life of a lonesome wordsmith - a lot of quiet time, a lot of typing, lively conversations with imaginary friends, and sometimes, when the typing isn't happening, small sacrifices to the muse.

But husbands? Spouses? Significant others?

It's a big black box, surrounded by bon bons and free time.

Which is why it has been so cool having my husband home this week. For the first time, he's gotten a chance to see what I really do all day.

Granted, my monosyllabic responses--"write"--to this question over the years haven't been helpful. I guess I needed to show, not tell.

This week I've shown.

And he's watched.

Even listened when I ask him if I can read something out loud.

It's been fun. So much fun that I'm really going to miss him next week. It's neat having a pair of eager ears. And a lunch buddy. A friend. My best friend. 

It may not have been role reversal this week, but it has definitely added spark to our relationship. My husband "gets" what I do.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Book Review Club - Bull Rider

Bull Rider
by Suzanne Morgan Williams

upper middle grade/ya

Drugs, sex, teenage pregnancy, you name it, children's authors write about it. Suzanne Morgan Williams is no different. She has taken on perhaps the mother of all controversial issues for this country, the war on terrorism. Bull Rider's story is current, it's controversial, but far more importantly, it's really really well-written. Any book can take on controversy, but take it on without becoming preachy, now that's good writing.

Cam O'Mara's older brother is a marine. He goes off to fight in the Middle East, is injured, and comes back home a very different person. Cam's family struggles with the effects of war on their own world, the world at large, and the way people see them. Cam, a skateboarder by passion, turns to bull-riding, a time-honored family profession, because it is the only way he can escape the discomfort and uncertainty of his life. In the end, he chooses bull-riding to help his brother realize that if Cam can face his fears and straddle a thousand pounds of bull, then his brother can face his, learning to walk again.

This isn't a light read. It isn't a comfortable one. But it is unforgettable. Williams isn't preachy. There are no easy answers to war, not for those opposing, those waging it, and especially not for those fighting it. Her characters are well-shaped, offering all sides to the debate but no judgments. Family, love, hanging in there for each other, these are the driving force of her story.

Read it. It'll make you think.

And for other great reads this crazy December month, hop over to Barrie Summy's blog.