In late November of 1997, I was still a teenager. I was crushing on boys, playing basketball, writing stories in spiral notebooks (I still do that, btw), and experimenting with bangs. Thankfully, I gave up the last thing and only crush on one guy now—save for my book boyfriends I write about. I was out of school on Thanksgiving break and hoping to sleep in. That is, until my dad called to tell me that on this day my life would change forever.
My nephew was coming.
At the time, I was picturing a chubby-cheeked smiling thing that wouldn’t drool, spit up, etc. He would constantly smell like baby powder and be the perfect accessory for me when my friends came over.
Boy, was I wrong. In his first few weeks on this earth, I was peed on, pooped on, puked on, drooled on, and spit-up on. I learned to make a bottle, change a diaper, listen to his mother whine about her lack of sleep (because, duh, I still slept at night). But, I loved him so.
He hated me.
Then one day when he was about three, he decided he loved me. He gave me a special name, stole my heart, and over the next almost twenty years became one of my closest friends and confident. We had adventures (like mud fights and super late excursions to IHop) because if I wasn’t partying in my twenties I was chilling at hockey games with Lucas. He was my right-hand man, the first baby I held, the only kid I ever bashed in the head with a soda can (purely by accident).
When I met my other half, it was imperative that Lucas (who was nine at the time) like him too. When I was pregnant I had a few issues toward the end that required I stay at the hospital for a few hours for some testing. Lucas refused to leave (he had been with me that day, hanging out) until he knew I was okay. And when my son was born? Lucas woke his mom up to bring him to the hospital before seven in the morning.
Now, let me flip the script on you:
I tell you all this to explain my shock, awe, and surprise upon realizing that Lucas—my first baby—had grown into one of the heroes I write about.
I write New Adult Contemporary Romance (among other things), my first published novel (The Finish Line, Arkadia Fast Book 1) is entirely made up of characters under the age of twenty-five.
A few weeks ago Lucas and I were having a conversation where I was guilting him about he hasn’t sent me a recent picture of himself (he’s in college, working, doesn’t have time for me, blah blah). So he sends me one.
I stared at it in awe. A.) when did my little buddy grow up? B.) Awe, look how cute! And C.) How cute—not cute, handsome. He’s handsome. Holy crap, he could be one of my characters (he’s hero worthy, I tell you, we raised this kid right).
So I leave you with this proud Aunt moment (picture provided with his permission) of my very own New Adult hero. Like, how did I write three novels and never realize Lucas was the sort of guy I’d been writing about? He’s respectful, smart, kind, strong, and at times super cocky. We (I say we, because I helped dammit) raised a pretty awesome young man. Did I mention handsome?
(I love you, Super P, consider this your 2018 batch of embarrassment)
Also, if you can send me a screen cap of your purchase of The Finish Line ( http://amzn.to/2A875ZX) … I’ll print one of these bad boys, have Lucas and I both autograph it, and mail it to you. ~nods~