How quick they grow.
Feet push up. Hands grip the couch. Soon the cliché pitter-patter turns to bam-bam.
You realize how out of shape you are, or even if you’re a marathon parent, you cannot keep up with the little creature. When potty training, he unravels the toilet paper. Around the table, you’re family debates where to send him to preschool. You suck in a deep breath and pray for silent meditation.
My pilot prepares for takeoff.
You will do anything for him. Climb down the steep side of a stream and go over rocks to pick up two baseballs. Make a peach cake for his third birthday.
My 3-year-old and writing projects take center stage before I begin a busy schedule in the fall. In addition to working as a part-time teacher assistant, I have been accepted as a part-time student and will work as a Graduate Assistant at my university.
Charles goes on the blue truck at Myrtle Beach.
We know as writers an important choice must cost our characters something great, or else we do not have a story. Time with writing and Charles will lessen.
That is why I take every moment to throw rocks in the Catawba River with him. It is why I edit like an insane woman when he sleeps to complete Sons of the Edisto and the Elliot McSwean stories.
Time with him is how I have realized how much one boy has influenced me and my writing.
A truck I built in the sand for Charles.
When Charles looks at a group of children at the park, he will run in a game of chase just to run. Then he will walk around the boundaries of the park where the trees are. He inspects what lies behind the bushes. He finds a plant. He will step on it, or bend down to stroke the leaf. In him, I see a lot of Sons of the Edisto‘s primary character, Owen.
At seventeen, Owen fears becoming like his father. He rather explore the woods instead of join friends at the soda parlor in downtown Bamberg.
Then I see JD. Charles is getting better about running into walls or doors, but he inherited my sense of grace. When my father day dreams about him becoming a great baseball player, I shake my head and laugh. Maybe, but he has some of JD’s clumsiness in him.
If you read my blogs, you know most of my stories are about preteen or teenage boys and their relationships. Sons of the Edisto, Adventures of Elliot McSwean and I would not be the same without Charles. While he has influenced characteristics of Owen, JD and Elliot, he also reminds me of why I write about boys.
As a child, I was misunderstood by girls. I did not get them. Until fourteen, I did not wear make-up. What the birth of my son provided was peace combined with the understanding of complex relationships. I paid more attention to stories, MG and YA books, and realized there was not enough written for or about boys. There are many paranormal nineteen twenties YA books coming out now for teenage girls.
Thanks to Charles, I chose to focus on: realism and boyhood. It might begin looking in the stream for baseballs or building a truck in the sand.
By Rebecca T. Dickinson