We just celebrated Alex’s 21st birthday this July 8th — amazing but true! We had a little family gathering for him — lunch at a cozy bistro with huge arched windows, a long wooden table, and savory paninis, pastas, and pizzas. I found a wine appropriately named “Red Bicyclette” and we all hoisted a glass. Then we went to see Midnight in Paris, the charming new Woody Allen movie, which my sister Steph and brother-in-law Steve especially enjoyed. If you haven’t seen it — then run, don’t walk! It’s about Paris in the 1920s and there are writers, writers, everywhere! Alex is a big F. Scott fan and he enjoys Hemingway, both of whom make spirited appearances. I just knew Alex would enjoy the film — and a great time was had by all!
What fun it is now that my beautiful boy is older, to talk about writing with him! We recently had a long chat about a book we’d both read, comparing our ideas and impressions. Alex has also read some of my YA novels chapters and sent me notes of encouragement. When I had a book party for Birthing the Elephant, Alex was there, sharing in the fun and celebration. And back when he was four, he sat by me beaming and dapper in a pint-sized bow tie as I signed copies of my earlier book, How to Succeed on Your Own at the Book Friends Café. Sharing my writing life and my successes with my beloved son has been one of the most delightful and fulfilling rewards of my calling.
Who knows where the future will take us: What books and stories we’ll share together, what journeys of the heart we’ll both make on the wings of words. There’s so much to look forward to! When Alex turned one, I wrote a letter to him that was published in a friend’s magazine. Here’s how it ended: “Your sense of discovery has rekindled mine. Each day has become an adventure, a door waiting to be opened, a new feeling waiting to be felt. As I glance at my pile of papers, I see a travel magazine, unread. Now that you’re here, it will be quite a while before I’ll have the chance to climb the mountains of Nepal, or float through the canals of France, or hike across Alaska. Some days the supermarket is my most exotic port of call. But no matter. For who can tell what glorious adventures we’ll have? Or what unknown regions of the heart we’ll explore together?”
“Yes, you’ve taught me many things these past 12 months. How many gifts you’ve given me! The gift of joy, the gift of strength, the gift of family, the gift of love, the gift of wholeness, the gift of mystery. I’ll try to wrap these gifts along with your books and toys, if I can, so you can take them with you wherever you go. May they give you safe harbor, my bold-hearted boy, my son! Love, Mom.” Happy Birthday, Alex!