Tuesday, May 17, 2011


By Robin "Red Hot" Kaye

With three teenagers, I’ve seen more changes in the last few years than I could ever imagine. With each change I see my kids go through, I watch as they lose their equilibrium or center of gravity, and struggle to find it again. Like a puppy with too big feet, they trip all over themselves for a while. It’s not comfortable. It’s sometimes scary. And there’s no going back to their old equilibrium—it doesn’t fit any more.

My son has been working toward his Eagle in the Boy Scouts. It’s something that has to be done by his 18th birthday. He’s been racing against a clock and he lost. There’s no possible way he’s going to able to get project approval and get the project done before his birthday in late July. It’s his own fault in a lot of ways; he should have taken the steps to get the badges needed much earlier than he did—but a young boy with ADD doesn’t get that what he does when he’s 12 will effect what happens when he’s 17. Still, for the last few years he’s worked hard, completely focused, did all the right things, and still he failed.

My boy took the largest disappointment in his young life like the man I always prayed he would become. He made me so proud. He didn’t rage at the leaders, he didn’t stomp off, he didn’t blame anyone. He just thanked them for all the help they’d given him and came home to break the news to me and my husband. My son showed me that you don’t have to be an Eagle to soar like one.

Now I’m watching him gain his new equilibrium, turning his energy in a new direction, looking at his next goal, determined not to make the same mistake again but struggling to balance.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the book I’m working on and I realized my hero and heroine are going through the same thing… Okay, not the same thing—I doubt Fisher Kincaid was ever a boy scout, but both my hero and heroine’s lives just went through a huge change, and their both finding their balance.

Jessie, a sports reporter for the NY Times, got laid off. She has no hope of being able to find another job doing what she loves since news papers are becoming more scarce than the incandescent light bulb. She sublets her apartment (she can no longer afford) and takes a friend up on his offer to crash at his second home in Boise, and finally write that book she’s always talked about.

Fisher is a twin. He and his twin, Hunter, are closer than close. When they were kids and one got hurt, they both felt it and the only way they could tell which of them was hurt was to check to see which was bleeding. They’ve always known what the other was thinking and feeling, they were best friends, constant companions, and confidants—even as adults. Since Hunter married, Fisher’s feeling completely off balance and he’s not sure why. He’s happy for Hunter’s, thinks the world of Hunter’s wife, and other than sometimes feeling like the third wheel, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with his life that he can see. Well, except for being in an unexplained funk.

Looking back at my books, I find that most of my characters are always just finding their feet, or trying to, when they meet their perfect match. Something has to be off to make them vulnerable to cupids arrow because for some reason, my heroes and heroines have issues with the whole love thing. They figure out together how to prop each other up, only to fall apart during the big black moment. Then they always have to gain their equilibrium on their own before they can come back together.

I have a feeling their not going to handle these changes with as much grace as my son did, however. Still, I predict they’ll be soaring too, eventually.


Diana Quincy said...

Your son still has a lot to be proud of with all of the hard work he's been doing.

As to your new book, it'll be interesting to watch your characters stumble and then find themselves. After all, it's all about the journey!

Anonymous said...

robin. Thats kinda why i love ya. That finding your footing is so very hard. And its all new and hard and scary. ;) Yea on your son, and yea on your characters. ;)

Amanda Brice said...

Great blog, Robin!

My duaghter is 17 months old, and I see changes daily. It's pretty amazing.

Yay on the new book!

Diana Cosby said...

Such a wonderful post on a heart-moving topic. Watching our kids, their challenges makes us so aware of those yet to face. I'm so proud of your son for taking it like a man. Sounds like he has amazing parents who taught him such life-necessary lessons. I have confidence that through life's trials, your children will do amazing.
Love your character's challenges. Definitely an interesting read. Wishing you continued success! *Hugs*

Adele Dubois said...

Your son's dedication to scouting during his formative years will serve him well during his lifetime. Kudos to him.

I think everyone can relate to your topic. Life changes are hard!

Best of luck with your book!


Sandy said...


Congratulate your son on being a man. He did great.

I like the sound of your story. We set high goals for ourselves, but do not always make them. If we didn't set the goals; we wouldn't try to attain anything.

Elizabeth said...

The Olympic Creed….

"The most important thing is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered, but to have fought well." Pierre De Coubertin

Your son fought well and should be proud.

Robin Kaye said...

@ Diana - I totally agree--he's an amazing young man. As for the book, I'm so excited to write it. It's going to be so much fun! I just love Jessie and Fisher--we'll see if they survive each other.

@ Chapmansmythe--Love you too, Ronna!

@ Amanda - Enjoy the time they're young. My baby is almost 14, and although she's still cuddly, she's way too big to put on my lap anymore. I miss my babies.

Robin Kaye said...

@ Diana-I'm bless with incredible kids. My son now has turned his sights to working on his ROTC scholarship. He got a slow start but he's making up for lost time. As for the characters - they're so fun and clueless. I'm really enjoying writing them.

@ Adele- Scouting and ROTC have both been amazing. The leadership skills he's learned are invaluable. Hmm...maybe Fisher should have been a boy scout after all.

@ Sandy - So true. Goals are so necessary to a good life--even if you never reach them, they keep you moving forward, yearning for improvement.

Elizabeth - I love the Creed - I listen to it every year with my daughter at Special Olympics and haven't been able to keep a dry eye yet. Another amazing organization.

Savannah Rose said...

Can totally relate to Hunter and Fisher. I have an identical twin sister. Even though I didn't feel her pain but 2 times in 41 years, she's always been able to feel mine.

You're son sounds like a real gentleman. I caught myself tearing up when I read he had failed to complete the task to receive his Eagle but then a smile quickly replaced the frown when I read how "manly" he handled the disappointment. I have a nephew with ADD/ADHD and I understand how frustrating it can be not only to the parents but also to the child.

Robin Kaye said...

For some reason, my friend Deborah couldn't comment so she sent me an email and asked for me to post it for her. Here it is:

Hey Robin,
This is one of those times when even an I-told-you-so feels too hollow. There are not many. I've railed at my kids so many times to think forward--work toward the long term goal. Don't forget or get sidetracked and then come up at the eleventh hour short of the finish line when all of a sudden long term is today. It is a hard lesson but one not forgotten.

Your son will soar and he-don't-need-no-stinkin'-badge to prove it.

Be Proud.


Robin Kaye said...

@ Savannah - Wow, that's so cool. I had best friends who were twins and soooo close. Those two didn't even need to speak. We were the three musketeers. We spent all our time together and the only way I could tell them apart was because they parted their hair on opposite sides.

As for my son, he is a real gentleman. I routinely have other parents call me to tell me how wonderful he is and ask me if he'd date their daughters. LOL He's learned how to deal with his ADD but when he was younger, it was so exasperating. He was a regular fart in the wind.

@ Deborah - He's doing amazingly well and your right, he doesn't need a badge to prove it. The scholarship money would have been nice though...

Still, I'm so proud of him for working so hard to get as far as he has. He's turning into an amazing young man.

Cathy said...

Hi Robin
Watching our children grow into adults is a blessing. Congratulations on both your son's ability to find his feet and to soar.
I love your stories - and that your hero/heroine find their balance as individuals who choose to be together at the end. Can't wait to read the next one!
Cathy Perkins

Heather Bitzer said...

I know I'm not getting the wording exactly right, but I love the old saying, "When people make plans, God laughs."
Tell your son you know a girl who failed out of nursing school after only one semester. Big lesson learned! Thankfully, I came back with a vengence and graduated 5th in my class.
Sometimes you just have to take the scenic route!

Robin Kaye said...

@ Cathy - Thanks so much. I'm so proud of all my kids. They're pretty amazing. As for my books, I'm so glad you enjoy them!

@ Heather - I love that saying! Wow-5th in your class, I'm impressed! I'll be sure to tell him!

Gwynlyn said...

Robin, Hugs to your boy and kudos to his mama for rearing such a wonderful son.

I've always said standing back and watching them fall is the hardest part of being a good parent. But they need to do that while you are still there to help them up, bandage the scrapes, shoo them onward or they will be so unprepared for the real world.

Sounds like you have it down, not only on paper but in life. No wonder I love your books so much.


aarbaugh said...

Thanks for sharing your son's story. I truly believe that you can learn more by coming in second (or failing) than you can by winning. He'll remember this as a life lesson and be all the better for it. Sounds like you've done a great job as a mom. We all know you're doing a fantastic job as a writer. Loved chatting with you at MRW!

M.V.Freeman said...

I find the subject you are discussing bitter-sweet. When you spoke of your son it touched my heart. Those gut wrenching moments when our children face something we can't help them with. So wonderful he met it with grace and maturity. Three cheers for all of you!

And your characters sound fascinating--looking at how they deal with changes in their lives. Its funny, we can choose to meet our changes in life head on or we can fall to pieces. There never seems to be any in-between.

Debra Key Newhouse said...

What a wonderful blog Robin! Your son has learned a wonderful lesson that will carry him through life. Which is really the whole point. Says what great parents you and your husband are to have allowed him to make mistakes instead of making it too easy for him.

I'm very excited on the new book! Love the name Fisher!

Kate Dolan said...

You've very aptly described those awful moments in life where failure can't be fixed - and you put a positive spin on it. I guess I can see why your son is able to handle his disappointment with such grace - he has had an example to follow. Well done, both of you!

Robin Kaye said...

Gwynlyn - You are so right! It's so hard to step back and watch them fail.

@ Aarbaugh - It was great talking to you too!

@ Mary - I love to watch character's grow and change I think that's why I write character driven stories. People have always fascinated me. You can learn a lot about a person when you watch them lose.

Debra - I love it too! A friend just emailed me. She said her son's name is Hunter and her husband wanted her to name their second Fisher but she wouldn't. I love all the names for this series, Hunter, Trapper, Fisher and especially Karma. We'll see if my publisher wants Karma's book. She's my favorite and I'd really love to see her get a bit of her own medicine. :)

Robin Kaye said...

Kate - Thanks so much.

Keena Kincaid said...

I'm late, Robin, but wanted to say this was a wonderful blog. Your son sounds like he's what an eagle scout should be even if he didn't earn the badge.