Getting Older

So I’ve just hit 201 pages on Ghosts of WarCry, and a big twist has been revealed. That in and of itself is exciting, but there’s something else even more exciting and scary going on tonight: our son is graduating the eighth grade, and going to the dance with a girl. Wowza. As I said, pretty exciting stuff.

And nerve-wracking. How did our son get to be fourteen and graduating into high school? When did this happen? I don’t think my husband and I have aged that much (don’t look too close at our hair, though). I’m not sure I’m ready for this next step. Our daughter is moving into sixth grade next year, middle school, and that doesn’t seem at all possible either. Why is it our kids have to age? I’m not saying I want the baby stage back, but maybe somewhere in-between?

Our son is happy, of course. He’s really happy that the girl said yes. And he’s fourteen now, only two years away from that coveted driver’s license. He’s been looking through truck ads for a few years now, dreaming about that perfect ride (aka a Dodge truck with a Cummins diesel in it). But our family is into vehicles. We own a Chevy Silverado, a Jeep Wrangler (YJ), and a Jeep Cherokee Sport (XJ). So his desire to start driving is quite natural. Still, though, I’m not sure good old Mom is ready for watching her son drive out of the driveway with his buddies for a night on the town (or two tracks, in our family’s case).

You learn as your kids get older that while you still have a say over them, especially when they’re living in your house, they are their own people. They have their own ideas about things, and while they might take your opinion for what it is, they have their own. And sometimes they don’t line up with yours. My husband is not a Dodge fan. His father isn’t a Dodge man, either. But our son loves those trucks with a real passion. As you can imagine, this makes for some spirited conversation sometimes. And one of my sisters and her husband are diehard Ford truck people. And that can lead to very spirited conversations that lead to harassing and teasing.

And thinking about how you can’t make your kids into people they aren’t leads me to thinking about my characters. I can’t make them do much, either. Oh, they still live inside my books, of course, and as of yet, they haven’t moved out into the big wide world we live in. But they have minds of their own, and I’m finding out new things about them every day. That comes with age, too – writing age. I’ve been writing fan fiction for years, since around 2002. I’ve written lots of stories that are hosted on a large fan fiction database. And since starting out writing those stories, I’ve learned a lot. Maybe more than I sometimes wanted to in a given period. Because fan fiction reviewers are not kind people. They know the characters, and if you don’t get them just exactly right, they’ll tell you what you can do with your story. So I’ve learned how to write. I’m not saying I write well yet, but I write as well as I’ve learned how to at this point.

And with each line I write, each paragraph and chapter, I learn more. I grow more as a writer. Sometimes it’s painful. Sometimes I don’t want to mature as a writer. I like how I write, thank you very much. But it’s necessary, just as letting my kids grow up is necessary. And let’s be honest – it happens anyway, doesn’t it? Time marches on, leaving no one untouched.

It’s all part of getting older, I guess.