Recently my son (who recently turned 13) was accepted into a school that seems like it will be absolutely fantastic for him. The school is for what is called "twice exceptional (2e)" students. That's a clever way of referring to gifted students who have learning disabilities. It's very hard to find a program that addresses a learning disability without dumbing down the academic curriculum but this school has developed a stellar reputation for doing just that over its short fourteen years of existence. My son is as excited about it as I am. I really think this school will be a blessing.
...but maybe not a blessing for my pocketbook. It's going to cost me over $34,000 a year. It's an intimidating sum and there simply was no way I could pay for it by just writing books even though my first self-published novel (Vanity Vengeance & A Weekend In Vegas) is doing pretty well (thank you!!) as are my other books published by Mira/Harlequin, particularly the audiobooks (thank you again!). In the fall I will be shopping a pilot along with a television/film production company who's interested in working with me and I've been told that I'm first in line to write the pilot script for a show that is currently being considered by a studio. Oh, and I just landed a three book contract with Simon & Schuster for an erotic fiction trilogy AND audible.com contacted me and is working with me to produce my self-published novel as an audiobook (due to the popular demand of their customers). So that's all good....buuut...$34,000 a year??? And I don't know if anything will come of the Hollywood stuff. I don't know how the Simon & Schuster books or the audiobook will ultimately sell. I'm also a single mom. I'm exclusively responsible for keeping a roof over our heads, buying us healthy groceries, paying for our health insurance, filling up the gas tank and so on and so forth. Tacking on over thirty grand onto all the rest of it is a serious hardship.
But we've tried other schools, A LOT of other schools and this is the first one that I've seen where I thought, yes, this can get him where he wants to go and give him the opportunities he deserves. So I decided that in addition to everything else I would try my hand at selling luxury cars. I'm not going to tell you what dealership hired me or what kind of luxury cars I'm selling because they're very protective of their brand and I think they have mixed feelings about having it mentioned in the same blog as a plug for an erotic fiction novel. That said they are FUN cars to drive and so very, very pretty so if you know someone in the LA area who wants to buy/lease a fun, pretty car from an erotic fiction novelist (and really, who doesn't) by all means email me through Facebook or direct message me through Twitter and I'll give you the 411.
Obviously car sales is a full time job, as is writing. This summer I sent my son away to various summer camps and to hang out with family members who live out of town so I can work without worrying about him sitting home alone or getting into trouble. He's having a great time but damn do I miss him. Today it's the 4th of July, the first 4th of July I've ever spent without him. I purposely didn't make plans with friends for the afternoon so I could work and I actually got a lot done and I even think I'll meet my August 1st deadline for the first of the erotic fiction novels. But now, as I sit at home, I miss him so much it literally hurts. I did talk to him on the phone. He's going to be watching the fireworks with my brother and some of his cousins whom he hasn't seen for ages. He misses me but I know he'll enjoy the quality time with his uncle and peers. I also know that all this work is forcing me to do what I should be doing anyway....letting go a little bit. He's a teenager. Even if I'm working less next year there's a chance he'll want to spend the 4th of July with friends. I've been by his side for the vast majority of his life and that was appropriate for his younger years. But the very fact that I'm having a harder time with this than he is tells me that he's ready for more space and he's able to deal with having a mom who has to spend a lot more time working.
Of course I'll still be there for all his special events (school plays and whatnot) and I'll drop him off and pick him up on his first day of school for as long as he's okay with that. I'll be there whenever he needs me. But what he really needs right now is a good education and the opportunities to have the independence and success that he is clearly craving. And like the immigrants I descended from I'm showing him, through my actions, the value of a strong work ethic. I'm doing everything I said I would do. My self-published novel is selling, Audible.com actually kicked in money just to encourage me to make it into an audiobook, Simon & Schuster approached me about the erotic fiction idea and gave me a rather nice offer to write the books, the Hollywood production company I'm working with is enthusiastic about my work and has made shopping it a priority and I got a job at one of LA county's most reputable and prestigious dealerships selling some of the most sought after luxury cars despite having no experience in the industry at a time when unemployment rate in LA is at 11.4%.
So yes, I miss my son, a lot. I wish I could spend more time with him but I also know I'm doing what's right for him. Sometimes the sacrifice you need to make for your child is the sacrifice of some of your time with him.
It's hard to prepare yourself for all the challenges the job of being a parent comes with. And yet of all my many, many jobs it's the one that I love most. Even when it's hard.
Bestselling Author of:
The Sophie Katz Murder Mystery Series,
SO MUCH FOR MY HAPPY ENDING