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Studio City Mom: My Daughter Reads Me

The day my kid decided to read a story... mine.

My daughter is my biggest cheerleader. She claps the loudest for my triumphs and hugs me the tightest for my failures. She believes in me—even when I don't believe in myself.

During my she refused to let me walk away from . Refused to let me quit. Refused to let me say goodbye to my career.

But the funny thing is other than the love notes I leave her in her lunchbox and the one un-finished children's book I read to her 3rd grade class—she has never read a single thing I have ever written.

Until now.

For the past eight years I have been working on a very personal screenplay based on a real relationship I had growing up. Now it didn't take me eight years to write the script, but it's taken eight years to try and get it made. It has been optioned by A list movie stars, it has been attached to directors and producers. It has had moments of enormous activity and long stretches of silent slumber.

My daughter has heard me talk about this script since she was 2 years old. She's seen me sit at the computer late at night editing it. She's seen draft after draft printed out and placed on my desk for reading. She has seen me dance around the house with joy over this script and curl up on the couch with disappointment over this script.

For the past month it has been on my desk every day because it is currently in one of the "active" stages of life. There are certain stories you just want to see. Want to share. Hope to hear the words spoken aloud. This screenplay is one of those stories.

And, yet, you wonder if anyone other than yourself will ever see it.

The other day I was upstairs folding laundry while my daughter was downstairs watching television... or so I thought.

"Mommy, come here!"

I went downstairs.

"What's up, bunny?"

"I'm reading your script."

"What?"

"Your script."

There she was on the couch curled up under a blanket with my screenplay on her lap.

I was stunned. I didn't ask her to read it. I've never asked her to read anything of mine ever. And I certainly wouldn't expect her to want to read a 123-page screenplay.

But there she was in the middle of a Saturday afternoon, a day she could have been doing anything at all, and she was choosing to read my script.

She was only a few pages in so I went back upstairs and left her alone to read. I was certain when I came down later she'd already have tossed it aside and moved on to ICarly re-runs and Angry Birds.

I was wrong.

My daughter did not move from that couch the entire day. Every time I peeked in on her she was deeper and deeper into the script, turning pages, mouthing the dialogue silently as she went along. There are adults who can't sit and read an enitre screenplay in one sitting and yet there was my little girl not moving except to turn the pages.

Day turned into night and I sat on our staircase spying on her, watching her. Mesmerized by the image of my child losing herself in a story of mine. Mine.

I watched as she finished the last page, closed the script and looked up. She had tears in her eyes and her face was flush. I walked over to her on the couch and she hugged me.

"Mommy... this movie has to get made. I loved it. I loved it so much."

I honestly felt like a kid getting their first ever compliment. I was giggling and shy all at the same time. It was a powerful moment -- far more powerful for me than for her I have no doubt. I held her in my arms, stroked her hair and thanked her.

There are certain stories you want to hear. Want to share. Want others to know...

This is one of those stories.

John Emerson May 03, 2012 at 11:20 PM
Speaking of your writing, how embarrassed am I to have said to you on April 13, 2011 "I think you could write or maybe perform comedy based on your experiences" That is like advising Meryl Streep to give acting a shot! Forgive me.
Susan McMartin May 18, 2012 at 10:57 PM
john, NEVER apologize for your amazing comments. they lift me up, make me dance, and inspire me to keep writing. thank you!!!
Kelly Lester (EasyLunchboxes) October 20, 2012 at 02:27 AM
Based on the observations of such an esteemed reviewer I will RUN to the opening of this film Susan. (And the price of the ticket will be nothing compared to that priceless Saturday.)
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