I turn to see my oldest child in the doorway. His eyes narrow and his lips purse, “I think you can do better Mom,” he says.
I had been reading aloud from my writing. I am finally feeling confident in the last few paragraphs.
“That’s not a very nice thing to say, love cake.”
I am feeling guilty about not being more productive. I think I am finally getting somewhere with this piece and my kid gives offers a pertinent critique.
“I’m sorry, Mama,” he says, tears pooling in his eyes.
“I don’t want to hurt your feelings.”
“It’s okay, love. I appreciate honesty, even unsolicited honesty, even honesty that hurts. Some things I write you might not like.”
“Couldn’t you write about knights or ancient civilizations or something funny?”
“That isn’t what I’m going for in this piece. ”
“I am not always writing for you.”
“Sometimes I am writing for me. Or, another version of you. For later.”
“When I’m older?”
“So you’re not mad?”
“No, love, I’m not mad. My feelings are a little bruised but I’ll live.”
“I’m sorry, Mama.”
“That’s — ”
“I wanted to help you. You always make comments about how I can do better with my writing.”
“Sometimes I feel bad too.”
“But, I know you love me. Bye Mom, Oliver wants me to help him work on our research station.”
With that, he turns and runs through the house toward his brother, and I am left thinking about what I have taught my child about honesty, pain, and love.
I put my writing away, grab my hat, and head to the backyard.