The proof copies of my 25-year old daughter's first self published novella and her self published novel were placed in my hands this evening. I can't begin to describe how utterly proud I am of her, how happy I am that she is an author, too.
When she was born I made a conscious choice to read to her every day. I would hold her and feed her in the middle of the night and show her picture books. We progressed to more intricate picture books, easy readers, and storybooks. I red to her throughout elementary school. I never denied her books. I wrote stories for her and she would take the binders from the cupboard and read them herself when she was older.
I did not park her in front of the television. We did creative things together- art and sometimes just cutting paper into shapes, tying colorful ribbons together. We finger painted, colored, drew, played games. I let her watch Winnie the Pooh videos and Disney movies as treats. I encouraged her to learn to spell.
We made journeys to local bookstores and discovered new stories, new authors. Timeouts were she was sent to her room. When she was awfully quiet I would peek in and find her sitting on the floor in front of her bookcase looking at books. She learned to entertain herself- telling herself the stories she'd heard me read time and again. She learned to read the words and she has never stopped reading.
She developed a love of exploring her world and learning. She had an astonishing vocabulary at three years of age, correctly using words like procession and catastrophe. We still try to choose unusual and different words when speaking to one another- it's a game to see who can come up with the best word of the day- plethora, cacophony, abattoir...you never know. We have to think fast because we're conversing. Sometimes we crack one another up, sometimes we just shake our heads at one another.
I raised a young woman who can think for herself, who does not passively expect others to feed her information that she can regurgitate while thinking she sounds smart. She really is smart. She practices what she's learned and has a sense of accomplishment that's missing in many of her peers. (There is an emptiness in people her age that leads to anxiety. I see so many people her age on antianxiety and antidepressant medications- it's heartbreaking! They don't know what to do with themselves because people have always done everything for them and not allowed them to develop the skills they need to be productive on their own.) Her life does not revolve around make-up, clothes, her phone, reality TV- it revolves around producing something from her own imagination that is entertaining and interesting. She was not raised to be a self-centered little princess. She is her own unique, intelligent, talented self, not a cookie-cutter girl trying to fit into a mold.
I made a conscious choice to give my daughter the freedom to be who she is and the tools to accomplish that goal. Tonight, I have at my elbow her first novella, and her first novel in book form, and they are both amazing books from a talented young lady with a vivid imagination not formed by TV and social media. I allowed her the freedom to think outside those confining little boxes.
Teleport and Parapsychology are the products of that off the beaten path choice I made over a quarter of a century ago to raise a child free of the influences of television and social media.
I'm stepping down off my soapbox now- and am going to go give my author daughter, Kelly, another hug (she's busy sitting across from me working on something new at the moment!)
(I should give a nod to my own Mom here- she gave us the freedom to develop and grow, and never discouraged my sister, my brother, or me from being creative. I give her a nod tonight and a thank you for allowing me to be me so I could allow my own daughter to be her own self when the time came for me to be a Mom. I know she's smiling down at her granddaughter tonight.)