Many people before me have compared book writing and publishing to child rearing. The metaphor is an apt one on any number of fronts. For me, the biggest though is this: neither book writing nor parenting has been remotely what I expected.
And I did not go into either one -- especially parenting -- either starry eyed or naive. And yet, I have been wrong and wrong and wrong again about both at every turn. My guesses, my expectations, my anticipations are constantly thwarted and therefore disappointed. Between one and the other (which, together, make up a portion of my brain space nearing 97%), I spend most of my life surprised, shocked, blindsided, and just plain wrong.
One of the things I was wrong about was kindergarten. I was expecting blocks and singing and art projects. Then we got D's first report card and learned she was slightly underperforming in algebra. (Note I feel I must add: she brought that algebra grade up by the second report card.)
Another thing that's been surprising about kindergarten is there's homework. In the way of predictability, I would like to offer exhibit A, a sample of D's kindergarten homework. The assignment was to write up how to make your bed. She wrote this:
She does. She sleeps with a lot of animals. Also her bed is really high off the ground so hard to make. Also she sleeps under a comforter only, so there's not much making to do. That is not my point though. Here is my point: I helped with this homework; I spelled "animals" for her. The apostrophe in "don't" and the correct form of "too" however were all her. This puts her ahead of a large percentage of my former college students already, and she's only five. (Suck on that, algebra. Good grammar? Totally useful in daily life. Algebra? Haven't used it since high school.)
D and I made muffins for breakfast the other day, and when she presented them proudly to her father, D added that when she grows up and gets married, her husband or wife will be so happy to be married to someone who can cook.
I learned long ago that most of what D does is not something I should either take credit or blame myself for. It's probably not my fault. It's probably nothing I did right either. She is, like so much of life, out of my control for the most part. But these are the things that make us proud around here. Proud and hopeful and, well, a little surprised.
About The Author
Laurie Frankel writes novels (reads novels, teaches other people to write novels, raises a small person who reads and would like someday to write novels) in Seattle, Washington where she lives on a nearly vertical hill from which she can watch three different bridges while she's staring out her windows between words. She's originally from Maryland and makes good soup.