My Daughter Has Been Doing Some Reading

The other night I was tucking 11-year-old Niamh into bed where I found her curled up with my laptop. I’m reading your short stories she said. I like them.

Earlier in the evening I had opened a file containing 5 linked stories about runners in a running group that I had written about two years ago. I’d set them aside at the time, unable to look at them anymore. I was considering going back to edit them with fresh eyes, and so I had left them open on my laptop.

Were they age-appropriate I wondered aloud?

Well, “Martha” wasn’t, she told me. But I really liked the second one. It was sweet.

It’s strangely flattering to have your child compliment you on something you wrote.

I raced through the stories in my mind, and then later on read them all the way through. These quotes were some that she may have flagged as inappropriate.


“It will be all right. You’re a strong girl and you are going to run this marathon and then you are going to kick his ass.

“Damn it,” Tina thought as the tears formed. “Damn it damn it damn it.”

What the hell was I thinking, Martha asked herself as she got off the bus into the cold downtown air. They’re gonna be a bunch of goddamn snobs in their fancy Lululemon clothes…. I should turn around and go home. I can go for a run from there and forget this f***ing running club.

I was back a few times, in and out of rehab, but Jesus I wasn’t there for him. I’ve only gotten my s**t together in the couple of years.

Kyle is a total ass who didn’t treat her nicely and was always late picking her up, or not showing up entirely.


Well, it could have been worse. And then it was.

The following morning Niamh was reading the newspaper and found an article about a horrific court case that just closed in Ottawa. Having already read the paper before she was awake, I had tried to bury the article at the bottom of the pile of papers because I know that she flips through the newspaper every day. I was leaving to go to work when I saw that she was reading the exact article I was hoping she wouldn’t see. I couldn’t tell her to stop reading it because I knew if I made a big issue of it then she would be inclined to hide what she reads. I didn’t have time to stop to talk about it right then either, so I chose to leave her be and follow up with her later.

I had better do that soon.

About Finola

I am an Ottawa area Mom, writer-want-to-be and coffee legend in the making.
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8 Responses to My Daughter Has Been Doing Some Reading

  1. I hope that *I* get to read these stories of yours soon! Pleased you have a young critic right at home to help you out!

  2. Winston says:

    We don’t have any children at home to check out my writings, but I was shocked when one of our little ones that Linda sat a few years back had come across one of my hand written notes for a story.
    She was 8yrs old and quickly pointed out a few choice words in the story line.
    I didn’t want the child to think bad of me, so I told her that it was only a rough draft and those words would never make it into the final story!
    My face was red and it gave me pause to write in a more thoughtful manner.
    Years later I still think about it now when I write a story.

    • Finola says:

      I think the language in writing needs to suit the story you’re telling. Winston, your sweet memoirs wouldn’t need bad language to convey the images and history that you share, so it makes sense to leave it out. I try not to use bad language gratuitously, but sometimes the story seems to need it.

  3. Kathleen says:

    Tricky! I often turn off the radio when the news comes on or ask my daughter (who is 9) not to read the newspaper if the headlines are horrific. I read whatever I wanted to when I was her age, but I think I could have done without some of the newspaper stories.

    Sweet that she likes your stories!

    • Finola says:

      I’m always ready to turn the radio off in the car too, and I wish she hadn’t seen that newspaper story. I hate that my kids have to see what can happen in the world.

  4. Sasha says:

    That is really neat about reading your writing. But eek – yes – there’s scariness in the news (and I know the news you’re talking about). Good luck with that. I’m running ideas through my head to try and figure out what I would do (or rather, what I WILL do, given it’s only a matter of time). I’m sure you can handle it. For that matter, I’m sure you & N will both handle it as well as something like that could possibly be handled. N seems to have a really good head on her shoulders, and it’s not hard to see where she gets it :). *hugs*

  5. Finola says:

    Thanks Sasha for your kind words. It’s hard to know how to handle these things. N did read this blog post before I posted it and so we’ve had a chance to talk now. She’s got a good head on her shoulders already.

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