Another Mother’s Day on the Road

I’m writing from Toronto, where I’ll be speaking at Indigo in Yorkdale this afternoon. This marks the fifth year that I’ve been on the road for a book tour on Mother’s Day, and every year, I reflect how lucky I am to have my own mom, and my wonderful wife Becky — and I wish I could be home. But in lieu of that, I celebrate them from afar. I was looking back at my previous Mother’s Day posts, and decided that the following one, first posted in 2007, pretty much says it all. A lot has changed in our lives since then, when The Titan’s Curse had only just come out, but the essentials haven’t changed.

During my visit to the Sidwell Friends School in D.C. this week, a girl in the front row made a very perceptive comment: “Sadie relates to Carter the same way Annabeth relates to Percy. The girl is always pulling the guy back down to earth. Is that intentional?” My answer: I have a lot of strong women in my life, who are always grounding me and helping me find my center. Without them, I would certainly fly off course. So it’s probably no wonder that my female characters always represent the voice of reason. (Although Sadie might balk at being called the voice of reason.)
At any rate, here is my Mother’s Day post from 2007. I wouldn’t change a word:

Flying on Mother’s Day

My wife has to endure many things, having an author for a husband — like not having me home with her and the boys on Mother’s Day. I am midway through my tour, flying off this morning, and although everything is going great, I really wish I could be home with family today. Flowers and phone calls are fine, but not the same as being there.

Fortunately, Becky is a saint. She puts a good spin on everything. She takes care of our boys while I’m gone with never a complaint, with infinite patience (well okay, almost infinite patience). She fields calls and emails that would bury me in an avalanche. She keeps the household from turning into a whirlwind of chaos (although she might disagree with me on that). She is the most good-natured, even-keeled, practical, wonderful person I’ve ever met. And beautiful, too. I got an Internet camera for this trip, so I could see my family as well as talk to them, and seeing Becky even for a few minutes a day is enough to lift me out of any depression. Hard to be away, indeed. Thanks, Becky, for sharing my crazy life with so much grace and understanding.

My own mom, also in San Antonio, doesn’t really believe in Mother’s Day, since it’s a Hallmark/FTD conspiracy to sell greeting cards and flowers. Nevertheless, I think it’s good to have day like this to reflect on how amazingly blessed I am to have a great mother. For years, I have been known around San Antonio as “Lyn’s son,” because everyone — I mean everyone — knows and loves my mom. She’s an accomplished artist, a musician, a writer, and an extremely gifted teacher. The house I grew up in was a work of art itself, and a natural gathering place for actors, artists, and writers. Growing up, it didn’t take me long to realize just how unique my mom was. Not everyone had a Renaissance woman for a mother. She always allowed me space to discover my own interests. She never pushed or even suggested, but in a fertile environment like our home, how could I not have explored writing, music, art? I was not an over-scheduled kid. I remember frequently complaining to my mom that I was bored. She would brainstorm ideas with me, but in the end, it was up to me to entertain myself. I’m convinced this turned me into a writer. I had to look inward for my own stories and my own fantasy worlds. I wonder if kids today have time to do this, between soccer practice and recitals and the rest of their ultra-scheduled lives. I hope they do. My mom was my first reader, my first editor, my first fan. She continues to be one of my “front line” critics every time I print out a new manuscript, even if her comments are usually, “I love this, and I love this, and I REALLY love this.” Hey, she’s my mom. She’s entitled! So thanks, Mom. It’s nice to be called a bestselling author or winner of such-and-such award, but it’s a real honor — a very great privilege — to be Lyn’s son.

Rick Riordan