If your family doesn’t think you’re great, what’s left for you to do? Run? Hide? Give up? Try to convince them otherwise? Face the realization and continue on anyway? Yeah, that’s what I did.
My grandson has been spending the summer with me. He comes down three or four times a year, but it’s really in the summer that we get reconnected. We share. We laugh. We do stupid things and I love every minute of it.
Last year at Christmas I gave my Father a book I had written about him. Well, it was sort of about him. It was called Things My Daddy Said and contained page after page of daddyisms. I kept a couple copies and gave eight copies to my Dad for him to do with as he pleased. In the ensuing handing out of books my grandson got a copy. When he came down this summer I found out he actually read the book.
While wandering the house he noticed copies of other books I have written. We talked about them, talked about the conference I go to every couple of years, and the writers I have met. I talked about Tracy with no ‘e’; Wojo whose name we’ll leave at that; Phil Donahue who isn’t so much a writer and isn’t known by my grandson; Lisa Scottoline, again not known by my grandson and/or his friends;, Rose, Dawn, Nelson, Stacey, and the hundred or so other writers I know. I was on a role. I was espousing all of my connections, the funny books I’ve read written by my friends, and so on.
My grandson shows such interest in my life and often asks insightful questions. Questions such as “What do you do at work?” When I answer he normally replies with, “That sounds nice. What else do you do?”
I’m not up to giving him a blow by blow of the entire day so I only do the highlights. If it bores me it will certainly bore him. That’s the way I think.
In the area of writing he always wants to know what books I’ve written. Um, well, let’s see. I go through the entire list and then have to break them down year by year and specifically let him know which ones I’ve written this year, or at least since I’ve seen him last. Then he asks the inevitable, “Well do you know anyone famous?”
“You know. Like James Patterson.”
This delving into who I know in the writing world was new for me. I suspect he has considered it for longer than I have. Either that or when he told his friends that his Mawmaw is a writer, they inquired of him if I was famous. Failing that question I’m sure they asked if I knew anyone famous. Failing that what else is there to say. Perhaps he is trying to salvage my reputation and a bit of his by proving I’m a famous writer.
He obviously believed all the press put out by James Patterson. Or he saw too many of his commercials on television. Or he was clueless.
How was I going to burst his bubble and tell him that just because James Patterson is on television doesn’t make him famous. I’ve been on television too. I was one of the Angels in our Midst. I spoke on television about lupus. I have five books out. I’m your Mawmaw and I write funny stuff.
What was I trying to do?
Was I dissuading him about James Patterson or was I trying to build myself up in his eyes?
Did I need to do either?
I stopped to remember the child who looked at me and asked at naptime, “Mawmaw, can I lay my head on yous boobies?”
And the child who says “I love you to infinity and back ten times more than whatever you say.”
And the child who loves to cook with me, or swim with me, or lay beside me and read. The child who when asked, “What do you want to do when you come down?” replies, “Lay by you Mawmaw.”
I didn’t need to be James Patterson, or famous in anyone’s eyes. I couldn’t be loved anymore if I were.
From the life and times of Wanda M. Argersinger
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