After a late summer dinner I rested my arms on the table and looked at our 9 year old son. It was 9 pm, he still wore last night’s pajamas, and I realized he hadn’t showered in two or three days. I sighed. My husband and I were tired and wanted the kids in bed so we could be off duty. “Just do it tomorrow,” I said, and pushed back from the table.
“I like showering in the morning,” our daughter chimed in from her seat. She was barely halfway through her dinner when the three of us were already clearing our dishes. “Then it doesn’t mess up your day,” she said, and took another bite of quesadilla triangle.
I smiled at my little clone, a morning child like me. I knew exactly what she meant. Only I like to get activities done in the morning so that they don’t get messed up by the day. “Yes,” I said. “That’s why I like to exercise in the morning. And write.”
I covered the pico de gallo and opened the fridge to put it away. Our son walked up to me en route to the sink, his plate in his hands, and he cocked his head. “Is writing your job?”
One hand on the open fridge door, I thought about the rejection I got that morning. I stuck the pico in and closed the refrigerator. “Well, it’s more like a hobby,” I told him. “I do it because I like to do it.” I leaned on the fridge and looked at him. “Maybe if I practice enough, I can make it my job when you two move away.”
He took his plate to the sink, and our daughter piped in from the table, “A girl in my class? Her father is a poet!”
Our son ignored her and turned to me. “Would that mean you would be an author?”
“She’s already an author,” my husband said, rinsing the rice pot. “It’s not a job she goes to an office every day, where she works for someone and they pay her for her work. But she writes, and she’s an author.”
“You are an author, too,” I said, “every time you write a story at school.” I ruffled our son’s hair before heading back to the table to clear lime wedges and guacamole.
“No, I mean,” and he followed me as he struggled to find words. “Would you be an author of, like, a book?”
“I don’t know,” I said. “I’m still trying to figure out what kind of writer I am.” I carried bowls into the kitchen, and he followed three steps behind me. “I know some people make books from their blogs. They pull essays around a certain theme and publish a compilation of them,” I said, my head in the fridge. “But I don’t know if that’s what I’ll want to do or not.” I closed the refrigerator. I turned around and almost ran into our son, who stood right in front of me.
He put his arms around me and squeezed, his cheek against my stomach, then turned his face up to me and smiled. “I think that would be pretty cool if you were an author.”
I opened my mouth, surprised. I thought about the pile of Harry Potter books I asked him to clean up earlier, and the Percy Jackson series he finished in a week, and the fact that he wanted the whole Hardy Boys series for Christmas. My rejection from the morning fell away as I realized our 9 year old son respects writers. That he thinks authors are cool.
“I think it would be cool too, buddy.” I hugged him back, tightly, and vowed not to give up.
Thanks to the Daily Prompt: Moment of Kindness for inspiring me to write this story down.