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Some Day They'll Read Their Biographies. But Not Today.

Sunday afternoon Maddie came into our home office and plopped down in Brian’s chair as I did some work on my computer. She sat silently for a few moments, contemplatively spinning in his wheelie chair before speaking.

“You know, Mommy, you’re a pretty decent writer,” she finally said.

“Well, thank you,” I replied cautiously.

“I bet you could write a whole book if you wanted to,” she continued.

“Maybe, hon – thanks for the confidence!” I replied. More cautiously.

“I was thinking,” she said, finally swiveling around to face me, “you could write a book about me and Cora – our lives, the funny stuff we say, things you notice about us. Because honestly, we’re pretty funny and I think a lot of people would want to read about us.”

I stared at her. Had she been surfing the web and come across my blog?

Nope. She really had this idea all on her own.

And I should say here that the girls don’t know about my blog. I’ve been saving it, of course, since I began writing in 2005, and I have always intended to hand them a series of discs – or even better, print the years out and have them bound into books for the girls to peruse at their leisure. Every day when I write, I think about what I want them to remember from their childhoods, how I want them to know what was going on in my head as I disciplined them or snuggled them or enjoyed our afternoons together at Starbucks. I’ve always envisioned handing my work over to them when they’re full-grown adults – or at least well into their teenage years – and drawing closer to them as a result.

But I’ve never censored my work, never held back how hard motherhood is sometimes, how it makes me so frustrated or angry or simply overwhelmed at moments. I don’t want to paint my days as idyllic or insincerely perfect; that’s not fair to me, to you, or to the girls down the road.

So I’ve never wanted to let the girls read my writing in their early lives – I don’t want them to worry when they read about a really bad day, or how I beat myself up once (or a hundred times) for some mistake I made.

All this to say that the conversation at that moment was making me a wee bit uncomfortable.

“Well, you know, honey, Mommy already does write a sort of book about your lives,” I ventured. Maddie perked up.

“You do? Already?”

“Yep. Most days I try to write down what’s been going on with you two, or funny things you’ve said that I want to remember, or special events we’ll want to talk about in the future.”

“And where’s it printed?” Maddie asked.

“Nowhere,” I answered truthfully, grateful for the precision of the question.

“Oh,” Maddie said disappointedly. “I guess it’s not that big a deal then.” And she got up and left.

So the stories are safe for a while more. But some day, my girls will sit down, maybe in a Starbucks over a hot cocoa, and dig in and relive their childhoods – and hopefully know me a little bit better.


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