Lisa Manifold

Writing From the Top of the Street

Tag: parent fear

Book baby thoughts

So in two short weeks, my literary baby will be heading out to stand on its two little feet. Like any parent booting the kid out, I’m nervous.

Now that it’s finished, I know it. I KNOW it. My editor asked me a flurry of questions the other day. I knew the answers to every single thing. Some of it wasn’t anything that was in the story, but it was part of the arc that I knew. Know. By heart. After the amount of time it took to get those details sorted, that is a thrilling feeling. I’m all atwitter even as I type it.

Like a child, I know so much about Book Baby. I know the whys, and there are things that are non-negotiable. No, my character will not be buying a vowel (I used medieval spellings for some of my characters names. I’ve gotten a little…flack for that). No, I will not change that name. (Another character.) There are things that when I’ve gotten suggestions to change I think…eh. It doesn’t change what I want to share and makes the work flow smoothly, so sure. Why not? There are other things I get absolutely stalwart about and WILL. NOT. CHANGE. I’m always surprised by both.

And while the writing of it was a solitary thing, the getting the book out there is NOT. Not at all. My editor has been invaluable. My bestest critique partner has been as well. My critique groups (I have two, I know, I know, but they both kick ass, so there it is) have shown me things that I wouldn’t have considered. They’re also completely unafraid to tell me the truth. It’s couched in the criticism sandwich, but they say it.

I’ve wanted to finish and publish a novel for…oh…years. I did some serialized bits last year, but it’s not the same. Technically, it is, but it sure doesn’t feel the same. I’ve been in a daze since I concluded that I was done. And ready for the editorial eyes to latch on like a lamprey.

I was reading a blog somewhere else – it was Hugh Howey, I think – and he said that he never wanted to lose the joy that came from publishing something new. I agree. I never, ever want to lose how wonderful this feels. Of course, being able to speak coherently in full sentences would be nice, but I’ll live.

So if you have that novel lounging around in your head, waiting to get out, time to get to it. I won’t lie – getting this finished – to the point where I was no longer saying, ‘Oh! Just one more thing!’ is not easy. But it is easily one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done.

So there it is. tl;dr – Go write your own Baby.

Parental transitions

Like many of you, I’m a parent.  My kiddos are elementary school aged.  Thankfully, we’re beyond the kindergarten years.  They can tie their shoes, get themselves dressed, manage a lot.  Age appropriate things, but I am encouraging independence.

I didn’t always do that.  I did a large number of things for my kids because…why?  I don’t even know now.  I was – AM – somewhat of a control freak.  I like to do things my way, and get them done in a timely fashion. I don’t want people messing up my stuff – insert house, kitchen, laundry, whatever.  Even if I don’t like taking care of the chore, I like it done the way I like it.  Most of the time.  There are some things I do not care about.

But when it comes to my kids – I seem to care about a lot more than I ever thought.  Much to their and my dismay, LOL!

So last year, I went back to work outside the house.  I had worked from home prior.  It was very flexible, though, and my business partner and I always worked around our home schedules.  Then we found that our priorities had shifted, and dissolved our partnership.  All amiably.  She’s still my BFF.  (Tip – write a business plan and include in there how you plan to end the business.  How will assets be split, how will things be closed down.  Best advice we ever got, along with how to end a disagreement.  Ours was a coin toss.  My side was tails.)

So I stayed at home for a while, and then my spouse and I decided that we had plans for retirement that needed action now.  So I went back to work.  I’m glad that I have.  It’s afforded us a direction in life that we probably couldn’t have taken otherwise.  However, it has necessitated transitions.

The biggest one is as a parent.  As I said, my kids are much more independent than when we started our home business.  I’ve learned to step away from the cruise directing, as my family calls it.

Part of me misses it.  I worked a full day today, and had an event after work.  I didn’t get home until half an hour before the kids were going to bed.  Even though they weren’t totally interested, I made them come and sit with me, and snuggle, and tell me about their day.  I miss being the one who already knows how it went.  I worry that when they do stuff, they may do it wrong.  Or get hurt. Or have someone make fun of them. Or…or…or.  That list can go on forever, as my fellow parents know.

I always thought, when I was knee deep in stinky diapers, and multitudes of spit on clothes, and crying, and catching the wandering toddlers, that I couldn’t wait for them to get a little older.  It had to be easier, I thought.  I was right.  It is easier.

It’s also harder.  Letting your chicks venture out of the nest is scary.  I want to gather them to me and not let them go.  I know the world, and it’s not always the easiest or nicest place.

My kids are doing me proud.  They make mistakes, and when I see it happening, I nearly clench my fists to stop myself from jumping in to help.  I bite my tongue, and let things play out.  Kids get a great sense of achievement from navigating challenge on their own.  I have to remember that.

Some days, the mounds of diapers and spit on stuff was easier.  So go hug your kids a little extra tonight, while they’ll still let you.

Dr. Google

This has nothing to do with writing.  I’m writing, but I’ve been doing more searching on Dr. Goolge than I care to.

If you’ve had sick kids, you, too, have experienced this doctor.  Something happens with your kid, and off to the interwebz you go.  When you do this for yourself, you are dying.  It doesn’t matter what you search for, or what site you end up on – you. Are. Dying.

And then you say to yourself, ‘Pshaw, self! You’re not dying!’ and swoop the mouse to some other site not medically related. 

However.

When it’s your kid(s), that’s a whole different ball of wax, as they say.  No one wants to take chances with your kids.  You know how much suffering you’re willing to put up with before you drag yourself (or your spouse nags and dying en route seems less torturous) to the local urgent care to see just what medical oddity is claiming your very soul. 

You don’t know that limit with your kids.  And Dr. Google knows this. 

I am not going to lie, shameful though it might be.  I have googled some things going on with my kids that looked, for all intents and purposes, like meningitis.  Twice.  The hospital didn’t think I was far off the mark – they tested for it.  Having been there twice in one year has caused some extended conversation about it, so I have a better idea of how extreme symptoms have to be.

It’s easy when the kid is gushing blood from some sort of head wound.  That’s happened twice, too. But when nothing is really wrong, and there are a litany of symptoms that equal a sick and miserable kid, and they are crying quietly, well….Dr. Google doesn’t look as bad.

Even though he is.

Tonight, it’s not one of our usual suspects.  Tonight, it’s mosquito/bug bites gone wild.  I have a child that has the worst reactions to being bitten.  No bites have been the same in their reactions, but they all react.  I guess that’s a similarity. 

He got a bite of some sort on his forehead.  We checked it out last night, and it was calm.  Same with today. Not much itching, or fussing about wanting to scratch.  Then I look over at him during dinner, and holy Joseph.

The kid has an egg on his forehead.  Well, half an egg.  I poke gently at his forehead (my kids are used to this, so he doesn’t even blink an eye) and it’s…squishy.

What in the name of weirdness is this? Oh Dr. Gooooogggllee…….

It seems that my kiddo has an infected mosquito bite.  The symptoms match exactly (so that MUST be it!). We iced it tonight, and the swelling did go down some.  He reports no pain or discomfort, so we’re letting him go to sleep and then if it’s still half an egg status tomorrow, off to the urgent care we go.

Well, at least it’s not meningitis.

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