Today is #nationalsonsday. I have one son that I’ve probably mentioned before. He’s full grown now, though still living at home thanks to sucky economy things. But raising him has been a journey, for both of us. And it’s honestly been great, even when there’s been trouble.
So wonderful, that when I think a character has children, invariably I want to make them a boy. I’ve written sons for both my main characters in the Turning Point stories: Thomas, James, and Ryan, have facets of my son in them. Ryan, though 5, is the high-energy child with surprising thoughts that was my son as as a pre-schooler. James was my son’s middle school years: the deep thinker, the introvert, the reader, the artist. Thomas, my son’s high school years, a physically active young man with intelligence, and a caring nature who makes friends easily.
To celebrate #NationalSonsDay, I’m going to share some of my favorite “mother-n-son” scenes. First up, Ryan, age 5, in the tub talking to his mom, Cassidy, from Turning Point:
Cassidy stepped into the house, putting her keys and purse aside. Ryan charged to the bathroom. “A quick bath,” she reminded him. “Then it’s story time.”
“Will you read me a story?”
“Sure,” she answered, leaning in the doorway, She grinned as he splashed Into the filling tub. “Keep the water off the floor.”
“Did you have fun today?”
“Yes.” Cassidy started out the door to get his pajamas. “Mommy?”
“Are we going to see Ms. Lanigan again?”
“Probably.” She smiled warmly at the memory of Brenna’s face in the twilight.
“Are we going to be able to see Daddy anymore?”
“Now that you’re dating Ms. Lanigan, will I get to see Daddy?”
“What makes you think Brenna and I are dating?” Cassidy knelt at the side of the tub and soaped a washcloth, helping him by washing behind his ears and over his back. “We’re just friends.”
“You don’t kiss ‘just friends’, Mom,” he said, rolling his eyes.
Cassidy carefully stifled her inclination to deny it. He must have seen us kissing in the tent during the camping trip. Obviously he had continued to think about it. At least he was finally talking to her about it. “Does that bother you?”
Ryan shook his head. “She’s really nice, and Thomas is a lot of fun. James doesn’t like me.”
“So, what’s bothering you?”
“When you were dating Mister P’lassis, I didn’t get to see Daddy. I want to be able to see Daddy.”
“Who I’m dating doesn’t affect you seeing your father.”
“Does that mean I can see him again?”
“Why do you want to see him?” Cassidy had kept Mitch’s image as pristine as possible for Ryan. During the divorce, the youngster had not been old enough to understand anything other than that he no longer saw his father every day.
“I asked Thomas if he ever saw his dad, and he said no. He hadn’t seen him since his mom married Mister Shea.”
Cassidy wondered if that was Brenna’s doing or her first husband’s. “I don’t know the reasons,” she admitted, “but we shouldn’t guess. It’s not nice.”
“Okay. So, are you dating her?”
Were they dating? Tonight could be considered a first date, even though they had been surrounded by their children. Or had the camping trip been the first one? She wanted to take Brenna out on a date sometime, just the two of them. That would be their first date, she decided. She finally shook her head. “No, we’re not dating.”
“Would you like to be?”
Smiling at her son’s “cut to the chase” manner, she said, “Yes. But it’s our secret, all right — yours, mine, and Bren’s. Okay?”
“Okay.” Ryan nodded and turned away from her, standing up in the tub. “I’m ready for my story.”
At her son’s typically abrupt change of subject, Cassidy stood and wrapped him up in a towel as he stepped out of the water. “I’m glad you approve.” She laughed, rubbing his hair briskly under the terrycloth. He giggled when she tickled him and helped him into his pajamas.
Together they went into his room and pulled out Jack and the Beanstalk. They shared the reading and oohed and aahed together over the various mishaps and marvels in the giant’s home and the final triumph as Jack cut down the beanstalk.
When they finished, she tucked him under the covers. “Good night, Ryan.”
Now for the teens, Thomas and James talking to their mom, Brenna. See if you can spot the trouble brewing.
Brenna watched the sunrise through her front window, seated at the dining room table while Thomas and James ate their breakfasts. Dressed casually, she mentally went over her Tuesday off and made plans for what would be a quiet, at-home Thanksgiving.
“Mmm hmm?” Brenna finished chewing her bite of eggs and then patted her lips with a napkin, turning her attention to James. “Yes?”
“Are you going to take us to school today?”
“I don’t have a set call. I have some pages to read on another script, but I had planned to do that here. Why?”
“I was wondering…could we pick up Marcie?”
Brenna thought about her younger son’s girlfriend, remembering a brunette girl who was quite shy. “What happened to her usual ride?”
“Her mom’s got problems with her dad, and well, could you, please?”
Brenna reached for a half slice of buttered toast. James did not often make requests of her. He barely tolerated the times she dropped them in front of their high school. She mentioned none of that now, however, having learned it was better to just go with the flow. “You’ll have to navigate to her house.”
“Thanks, Mom.” He seemed distracted and had since getting off the phone with his girlfriend the night before. Without another word, he finished his eggs and returned to his room.
I wonder what that was all about. She turned to Thomas. “What’s your schedule today?”
“Just classes. If you’re going to be home, do you want us to come here directly after school?”
“Please. We have to work on Thanksgiving dinner.”
“I’m surprised we didn’t plan to go to Mount Clemens,” he said.
She shook her head. “It looks like I’m going to have to work with a reorganized shooting schedule. There were problems with another script being ready in time.”
“I don’t know. Cassidy said that the changes were going over well. She had more work to do last night, but the turnaround on these things is never fast enough for the production team.” She watched Thomas shift in his chair, signaling a change in topic.
“Mom, I know you had a lot of problems with Ms. Hyland when she first joined the cast. Does this mean you two get along now?”
“We’re working out our differences,” she answered neutrally.
“Is that why you invited her camping?”
“We had talked about camping, so yes, I invited her along.” She opted not to mention that the discussion of camping had taken place after the invitation.
“I liked her.”
Brenna treaded carefully. “Did you?”
Thomas finished his orange juice in one lengthy swig. “She doesn’t seem like a pin-up.”
Brenna quirked a smile; her eyes unknowingly turned dark blue. “No, she’s not.”
“Do you think she was humoring me about the rock climbing?”
Ah. Brenna suppressed a smile. “No, why?”
“I’ve never met anyone like her. I don’t know what to make of all the stuff she said.”
“Are you getting at something?”
“If I can really get her to come over for climbing at the gym, would you mind?”
“I did invite her on the camping trip, didn’t I?” Brenna said with an understanding smile.
“That’s a relief.” The clock on the wall chimed, and he stood. “Oops, time to go.”
Brenna rose, and the two of them swept the dishes into the sink. She snatched her keys and purse from the small shelf by the front door. “James!”
Her other son appeared and tossed a backpack at Thomas, who caught it handily. “Ready to go.”
I’ve always thought it important to create fully rounded characters so it was just as important to me that James, Thomas, and Ryan have personalities and their own unique relationships and interactions as it was to build the romantic attraction and eventual relationship between Brenna and Cassidy.
So if you’re inclined to learn more about Ryan, Thomas, and James as their mothers fall in love, pick up a copy of Turning Point today. if you do, I’d really appreciate a review, too. Thanks.