Saturday was a day of firsts at our house. First we slept in for three glorious hours. Can you say bliss? Then we got up, because for some reason the children like to be fed and such, and they seem to depend on us for that. Weird.
At 10:18 we experienced a whole new kind of first. Kid A got a phone call. Not that she hasn't talked on the phone before, it's what happened during that call that changed our whole day.
She talked for a few minutes then came to us for guidance. Our conversation went something like this:
Kid A: Mom, Dad, I need to talk.
Kid A: That was Friend A. She wants me to ask this guy out to the Sweet Heart Ball.
Me staring at Kid A with bulging eyes: Ummmmmmmm. Ummmmmmm. Ummmmmm. Isn't that today?
Kid A: Yes?
Hubby trying not to laugh: Do you want to go?
Kid A: I don't know. Friend A really, really, really wants me to ask this guy.
Me trying to breath normally so that Kid A won't be frightened: Isn't the dance semi-formal?
Kid A: Yes.
Me still trying to breath normally since this would be Kid A's first date, and I remember how terrifying that is, but also being a mom and knowing how much effort goes into preparing for a dance, and not knowing what Kid A would wear to a semi formal dance that just happens to be in a about six hours: Isn't that today?
Hubby patting my back to calm me down while asking Kid A: Do you want to go?
Kid A: I don't know. They're doing the day activities at noon.
Me staring in dumb disbelief at the clock, which reads 10:22, and realizing my six hours just shrank to one-and-a-half, and thinking we need a dress, shoes, hair, make-up, money, oh crap--she still needs to ask this guy out: Ummmmmm. Ummmmmm. Ummmmmm.
Hubby still trying not to laugh: Well, you'd better make up your mind fast. Who is this guy?
Kid A: I don't know. Some senior.
I'd finish this conversation for you, but it would be painful for most of us--okay, probably just for me. So instead of pain, I'll sum up. She decided to go because she didn't want to let Friend A down and because there was Chinese food involved. Okay, and because she's a brave girl who can have fun under pressure.
She called to inform Friend A of this monumentous decision while I hyperventilated for a minute or two. Then Kid A informed me that Friend A would be at our door in ten minutes to pick her up to go ask the guy out. I hyperventilated some more and ordered Kid A into the shower.
Then the rush began. I ran to the kitchen shouting, "What do we have to ask someone to a dance?" I yanked open the pantry and stared. "Beans! We have beans!"
Hubby, who had followed me, told me I couldn't use beans. We made cookies. Fast. Okay, I started the cookies, and hubby finished them while Kid A and I did the speediest hair and make-up job in the history of the world. Then she left to go ask some poor, unsuspecting senior to the dance (with a plate of cookies and a can of beans) that was in just a few hours. I felt bad for his mother for a second or two. It would have been more, but I didn't have time.
While she was gone, I called in reinforcements, my mom for a dress, my sister for the real hair and make-up, my neighbor for pictures, a prayer or two for sanity and a miracle. They all came through with flying colors.
By the time Kid A came back from asking the now-stressed senior to the dance we had eleven semi-formal gowns, shoes, and everything else lined up--except an oxygen tank for me.
So the long and short of this tale is, we made it. Kid A looked beautiful. The dance was a success, and so was Kid A's first date.
What does this have to do with writing? Oh, tons of things, but I've gone on too long already. So I'll just list three.
1: Firsts are exciting and scary, and all of us like to relive them. That's why I love YA. It's all about firsts.
2: Sometimes you just have to dive into the writing, like Kid A did with her first date, and let the words fall where they may.
3: When you do dive in, have a support group like someone to help with a dress and make-up. You know, readers, and critique partners, and back-patters, and such. But most of all, just love it. There's nothing better than the rush of excitement as the words come. Oh, and keep some beans and chocolate chips handy, you never know when you'll need them.
Are you going to write a first today?