I was selling copies of my book at the Tempe Book Festival. I needed some help; someone to accept payment while I signed books. This setup is optimal for any author working a festival, fair or any other place where you're selling directly to patrons. I enlisted the help of my friend and fellow engineer Sara (hi Sara, thanks again for your help!). We've done multiple science fairs together, and she's great at getting kids and adults interested in our (science and engineering) booth.
Since the Tempe Book Festival was outside, and you have to bring your own gear, I decided that a tent canopy, in addition to the standard table and chairs, was a good idea for a festival in the Valley of the Sun. It's a rather large canopy, so Bobby volunteered to help Sara and I set it up. Set up was faster with 3 people, but only 2 people need to work a table/booth at a book festival. Having Bobby there for set up also meant that Jack would be there.
Jack is at the age where I have no idea if he'll be sitting still while watching Mickey Mouse, running all over the festival grounds, or begging us to go home. To my pleasant surprise, he was really into the book festival, yay! While we set up, he played an ABC game on a tablet. And when we finished set up, he took Mommy around to all the booths, then Sara around to all the booths, and finally Daddy around to all the booths.
Next, he sat at my booth, telling people about Annie Aardvark, handing out candy to other kids (it was more of a mandate: "you don't want that, you want Starburst"), and also enjoying some of this candy himself. He stayed the entire 6 hours of the festival and seemed to enjoy all 6 hours. He was a little tired after we packed it in and feel asleep on the ride home.
Jack visiting an author's book at the Tempe Book Festival
On a parenting note, remember when I said I had no idea how Jack would act? When I'm not sure how he'll act someplace new, I hesitate (big time) on bringing him with me. I don't think I'm alone on that hesitation--running a book festival booth goes a little smoother if there's not a cranky toddler sitting at it. Shark, doing anything without a toddler present usually goes smoother.
However looking back, I think about how Jack and I might have both missed out on this experience had I let that hesitation rule my decision. It was awesome for me to have him be a part of my work--for him to see me work. It's that thought, of him seeing me work and being a part of my work, that has changed my mindset. I definitely plan to bring him to more events like this (like when Sara and I volunteer for another science fair). It's just making sure to have a contingency plan, like having daddy or a friend on hand to help out, since I am an engineer after all (got to worse case it, ya know?).
As I hinted in the paragraph above, it meant the world to me that I got to share my work (my writing work) with my son. And that he liked it! I'm convinced that he thinks I don't work, as all of my work, both engineering and writing, is performed on my laptop. I'm pretty sure Jack thinks the laptop is a toy, and toys equal play, not work (although play in a sense is work for kids, just don't tell them that). Therefore, mommy plays, not works, on the laptop (okay, sometimes work feels like play to me, which circles back to every once in a while, I like my job).
As a female engineer (and writer) who wants to raise a feminist son, it's very important to me that Jack not only understands that I work, but that he sees me do it. Sharing the book festival with him, not only is a precious memory, but a demonstration of my ideals to my child. So yeah, every once in a while, I like my job. Might I say, I even love it? Na, let's not get too carried away! 😃
Hey friends and family-- what do you like about your job? Let me know in the comments. I guess you can also tell me what you don't like about your job, although hoping to have some positive comments too. 😃