Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Parenting and the cozy mystery

Several reviewers have questioned my choice of a single mother of two as the heroine of the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries. Kelly, a realtor/renovator, has two daughters, ages four and six, in the first book of the series, Skeleton in a Dead Space. By book six, Desperate for Death, the girls are a teen and pre-teen. Traditionally heroines of cozies are single women, often involved in a romance which provides a subplot. And they don’t have children. Some reviewers who objected to this change in the status quo found themselves liking the books, for which I am grateful.

Putting those girls in the novels was not a conscious decision. It just seemed to come naturally, perhaps because I was the single parent of four—and now am, though they’re all in the forties. My oldest daughter explained the book to her mother-in-law ass ‘highly autobiographical.”

This morning I sort of figured out why—parenting is what I’ve been doing my whole life and still am. Nine-year-old Jacob wasn’t awake five minutes before he complained that his stomach really hurt. I told him to move around and eat a banana. He did, but called his mother and said he felt worse than the time he had to cancel being an acolyte at church. She told him to lie on the couch for a bit.

All this on a day when I had gotten up extraordinarily early to get both of us out the door at eight o’clock. I had visions of cancelling my PT appointment and lunch date—the first of which would have relieved me and the second disappointed me. After lying not on the couch but on the big chair in my room, he declared he didn’t feel any better.

Me: Jacob, if you can’t go to school, no TV or iPad.

Jacob: I’m grounded from the iPad anyway.

After a pause, he asked: What would I do?

Me: I guess lie on the couch, read a book, and sleep.

Jacob, after another pause: Juju, I am going to school. I just may be a little late.

Me: No, darling. I have to leave at eight for an appointment.

Jacob, startled: I guess I better go get dressed.

He was soon dressed and out the door, probably ten minutes earlier than he’s ever gotten to school before. And with a cheerful disposition.

Tonight he’s sure he fractured his wrist. I told him probably not and gave him an ice pack.

See? That’s why I include children. I know how to weave them into a story. I hope you like Maggie and Em of the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries. I think they’re pretty darn cute and fun for their ages.


Lourdes Venard said...

That's funny. My stepson once thought he had fractured his wrist and wanted to go to the hospital (we were away from home, on a trip to D.C.). I always carried in my purse a sort of wrist wrap for when my wrist started hurting at work. Gave that to him and, voila, the "fractured" wrist was healed!

Judy Alter said...

Sort of the same thing here, Lourdes. His father wore a brace on his wrist before his RA was successfully treated, and Jacob really wanted that "cast." He's off to school this morning wearing the cast, with advice to sit out PE. "What if I forget?" His dad told him if it hurt as bad as he says, he wouldn't forget.