Tough love

As a writer, I make life as difficult as possible for the people who populate my stories. I give them flaws. I put them in impossible situations. I pile on the complications. My poor characters have to sweat and cry and bleed for their happily-ever-afters, because that old saying about hardship building character? It’s true, and it also keeps readers turning the page.

I’m okay with cooking up all these harrowing situations because I have absolute certainty that everything will work out in the end. No matter how many problems I throw into the mix, no matter how many twists I give my plot, my characters eventually land the job, get the girl, win the race. I’m like the wizard behind the curtain, pounding away at my keyboard until I’ve orchestrated everyone’s happy ending.

If only I could do the same with my kids.

Like every parent, I want the very best for my children. Love. Happiness. Success, however they choose to define it. But I hate to see them struggle. I don’t want to watch them fight as hard as my characters for their happily-ever-afters. I want to tie theirs up in a pretty bow and present it to them on a silver platter. Even though I know, I know my kids will appreciate their happiness more if they have to work, even if only a little, for it.

Now young adults, my kids are too independent for me to tell them every answer, steer them clear of every impossible situation, or beat back every complication. At some point, I know, they’re going to come face-to-face with their own black moment, and I will long to duck back behind that curtain and yank on some levers until their worlds are fixed. Even though I know I shouldn’t. Even though they likely wouldn’t let me.

Is there a happily-ever-after waiting for them on the other side? The mother and the writer in me certainly hope so.


About Kimberly S. Belle

Kimberly Belle grew up in Eastern Tennessee, in a small town nestled in the foothills of the Appalachians. A graduate of Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, Kimberly lived for over a decade in the Netherlands and has worked in marketing and fundraising for various nonprofits. She's the author of two novels, THE LAST BREATH and THE ONES WE TRUST (August 2015). She divides her time between Atlanta and Amsterdam. Keep up with Kimberly on Facebook (, Twitter (@KimberlySBelle), or via her website at

Posted on November 16, 2012, in Blog Posts. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Oh, Kimberle! This is so true!! I want to orchestrate their lives and knowing I can’t makes me crazy. All we can do is give them love and guidance and prayers and hope for the best. Trust me, I’m with you on the lever-pulling. If you figure out a way to do it, please share!

    • I KNOW, Christy. My fingers are so itching to pull on the levers but I know there are some things they just have to figure out for themselves. But you’re right. Love and guidance and prayers are the very best thing we can give them.

  2. I always tell my kids to take chances and not to be afraid to make mistakes because they always have a safe place to land. Of course, after I say that, I have to stuff some chocolate in my mouth and chase it with wine. 😉 Motherhood is the toughest job out there. The best thing we can do is love them, pray over them, and set examples for them by living the way we want them to live. You’re not alone, Kimberle!

  3. You hit it spot on, Tracy — giving your kids both wings and a safe place to (crash)land is a wonderful gift. But that first time they take that flight. . . ugh! And have you been in my pantry? Chocolate and wine can always save the day.

  4. Oh, you sure hit a spot for a lot of us, Kimberle. I am on the edge of my seat with both of my kids – 14 and 18 – and want SO much to be that wizard on the levers of their lives sometimes. But, I try to step back as much as possible, give them guidance, then see where they fly. Oh my , is it hard!

    • My kids are the same age, Patti, and you’re right ~ it’s soooo hard! Remember when your biggest worry was that they would choke on a marble? Now they’re driving and going off to high school and college. Where did the time go?

  5. I appreciate your insights, Kimberle. And wish I could insure a HEA for both my girls… and me.

  6. I once believed the worry of motherhood stopped when the children reached adulthood. Ha, so wrong! My 95 YO grandma taught me that the worry never stops, even when your kids are taking care of you. So buckle up and hang on, ladies, because the ride doesn’t stop until we’re 6 feet under … I know, just what everyone wanted to hear, right? LOL 🙂

  7. What is it they say, Sheila? Little kids, little worries. Big kids, big worries. And you’re right. They never stop!

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