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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Entering a Different Season of Writing

Warning: When your kids start driving you may not know what to do with yourself.

Yesterday morning, I got up a little early because I wanted to make Belgian waffles for my kids as a celebratory end of a long week. I’m more relaxed in the mornings these days. I help them organize their lunches (I know, I should stop doing that as they are both teenagers!), sip my coffee, spend a few minutes snuggling with my dogs. I even have time to write in my journal before an 8 a.m. workout.

I’ve entered a different season of my life. I have a teenage driver, and she has become responsible for driving she and her brother to school. They pull out of the driveway around 7:30 a.m., and because I work from home, I’ve instantly received an hour of my day back that I used to spend driving them to school.

The school my kids go to doesn’t have a bus system, so I spent many, many years driving them to school and picking them up in the afternoon and shuttling them to activities. Now, my daughter can drive herself to her sports practice and my son has a carpool that I only drive one day a week. That's another hour or hour and a half I've gotten back in the afternoons, too. There are days when I look up from the clock after working for what seems like hours on my computer and see it’s only 10 a.m.

Don’t get me wrong. I worry every time they get in the car. The worry is alleviated a bit because they only have about three miles to go to reach school and it’s all secondary roads for the most part. I try to tell myself she needs the driving practice, and every time she gets behind the wheel she’ll improve even more. (I have on my calendar to sign her up for a defensive driving class this fall). But for so many years, I spent hours behind the wheel, sitting in carpool lines, helping pick up other people’s kids, working part-time editorial jobs and taking on freelance assignments because I was determined to be both a good mom and a writer. There were days when I only had three or four hours to work during the day, which meant I stayed up late at night trying to finish assignments.

I thought those days when my kids were little would never end, and I’d never find time to be productive. But you blink and then they are 13 and 16, and coming home and asking you how your day went. The other day my son texted me to give me a head’s up he had bombed a math quiz. I texted him back, “Maybe this will make you feel better. This morning I have written an article about tackle football (450 words), an article about a local jewelry maker (250 words), my editor’s column (450 words), a write-up about a pumpkin patch (250 words), and I still have one more thing to write. He texted back simply, “Wow.”

This was all before lunchtime.

I’m enjoying this new season of my life, and will relish this time when my daughter uses any excuse to drive somewhere, even if it’s to pick up her brother from the YMCA or a friend’s house. It’s been a long journey to get here, and I’m going to relish these years where I still have them here, but they have less physical needs, and focus on all the writing projects I’ve put on the back burner for so long. It’s only fair, right?

Renee Roberson is an award-winning freelance writer and magazine editor. Her young adult novel, Between, is available on the digital platform, Wattpad. Learn more about Renee here.


  1. Anonymous4:17 AM

    Renee--I am going to second that exclamation from your son.

    Wow! Getting that much done before lunch makes me even more guilty about my lack of writing progress.

    Yes, enjoy them while they're still home. It won't be for long...

  2. Renee,
    Young adult children present different challenges and different writing inspiration. Definitely enjoy this season of your writing life!

  3. I love how you are looking at this so positively. I will remember this when Katie is that old. I will use your outlook for inspiration! :)

  4. Thanks, everyone! I'm trying to look at this positively and not be sad about the teenagers walking around the house that are now towering over me. It really did seem like for so many years I was driving them around in my SUV, plying them with Goldfish crackers and playing videos for my son while we waited for his sister in the carpool line. And wondering if I would ever have uninterrupted time to write.

    Fun fact, though. That car they are standing in front of in this picture? It's the car my daughter went to kindergarten in. And now she's driving them to school in it, ha ha! It's got a lot of miles on it but has held up well.


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