Honesty, pain, & love.

A A McRae
2 min readJan 19
Antique Ink pen on notebook
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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?”

“Maybe then.”

“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.”

“Oh, love.”

“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.

A A McRae

I am a teacher, parent, cookie-baking experimenter, library enthusiast, and all-around bookworm. Twitter and Instagram: @aamcraewrites