When he was a junior in high school, my son came downstairs from his room one afternoon. I was in the kitchen doing something... I can't remember exactly what it was right now, but that's not important.
He stuck his head around the corner and said, "You're a really good mom," a gentle smile on his face.
As any parent would, I suspected that this was a ploy to get something from me... a new video game, permission to go somewhere he shouldn't... you know the drill. I replied, "Thank you, Zachary. Now, what do you want?"
He replied in great earnest, "No, I mean, you're a really good mom.," his blue eyes flashing.
I still wasn't buying it. "Okay,.." I said. "What do you want?"
He looked at me and said, "I want you to write it down so that if I decide to have kids, I'll know the right way to do it." He waited until the request sank in... almost a full minute of silence.
Well, as you can imagine, my heart melted, and I hugged him... hard! And as he returned up to his room, I thought about how I might go about fulfilling his request.
I had kept a journal for his entire life... from the moment I discovered I was pregnant, until that very day. I kept notes on what worked for us, and what didn't... what strategies I used to make his life better than mine had been growing up (not that mine was horrific). From the moment I discovered he was coming into my life, I wanted to be consciously engaged in being his mother... so I studied, I stayed awake, and I paid close attention to him and how I affected him. I wasn't sure if I would ever have another child... but I thought that the journals would help if I did. It had never occurred to me that I would parent well enough that my own child would want to emulate my approach. But here he was, asking for just that.
I remember that when I first realized I was pregnant, I couldn't find any intelligent books about raising a child as a single parent. I found books like, "Okay, you're spouse died, here's a book about raising children". But that wasn't my circumstance. Zachary's father was very much alive. I found several books about raising children after a divorce... but that wasn't my experience, either. Zachary's father and I had never married.
I also found lots of books about being single parent written by - get this - members of the Catholic clergy, and dual parent teams. I couldn't fathom how either of those writers would make sense to me - neither one fit my situation. And besides, I had a hard time finding them credible, given the perspective from which they were writing.
It became very evident to me that there simply weren't any reference materials for a woman (or man) who CHOSE to be a parent. As I considered this history and the lack of resources I encountered, Zachary's request started to make more sense to me.
So, over the next eighteen months or so, I went about the task of organizing the notes from my journals. I set them together in what I thought was a logical presentation, and had an editor make sure my words were placed on the page in the best way possible. Then, I filtered through all the old photographs of my son growing up... the vacations, the fishing trips, the day-to-day adventures, and I added them to the chapters of the book where they seemed to fit best. And, when the day came, I wrote the last chapter.
The final product is something that I'm very proud of, my memoir... Wolfe Cub.
I wrote this book as a gift for my son... and if no one else in the world ever reads it, I can live with that.
But, if you've got children, or are contemplating walking that path, This book might be helpful for you. Although I wrote it from the perspective of a single parent, raising a single child... I'm sure that there are things inside it's pages that might benefit families of all designs.
If you choose to read it, I'd appreciate a review... I'm most interested to hear if you tried any of my strategies, and if they worked, (or didn't). I'd also like to hear what other approaches you created for your family that brought success. After all, I'm anticipating that some day... who knows when... I may be a grandmother, and your tips and tricks might be useful!
Diana Kathryn Plopa
I love being in love; writing; reading; mammals of nearly every kind, and especially micro-humans! Come enjoy my world with me - Secret Decoder Ring not required!!