Let the kids finish it Print
Grand Mom
Thursday, Jun. 17, 2010 -- 12:00 AM

Grand Mom by Audrey Mettel Fixmer

As we age, we try not to focus on all of the "unfinished" projects and all of the "unrealized" dreams we are leaving behind. When we have children, however, they just might finish some of those projects and achieve some of those dreams. If we are lucky, it may even happen in our lifetime.

My husband, Bob, dreamed of becoming a lawyer, but when the babies were in such a hurry to arrive, he had to give up that dream. Before he died, however, he had the thrill of seeing our grandson, Craig, graduate with honors from a top law school.

Bob had to give up playing in a dance band when he took a job traveling for a textbook company, but he lived to see two sons and four grandsons become great instrumentalists, fulfilling yet another dream.

Dreams passed down

My dream was, of course, to be a great writer of Catholic fiction. I promised my college professor, Sr. Mariella Gable, O.S.B., that I would write "The Great American Catholic Novel." I raised 10 kids instead. But all is not lost!

My daughter, Kris Baird, has published four books in her field of nursing and customer service, which promote her health care consulting business. And my eldest, Rob, is in New York, the editor-in-chief of Travel Weekly, and his son, Andy is a successful journalist in Los Angeles.

Saint training

And now. . . hold your seats. . . my daughter Elizabeth has her first novel coming out this summer. It's published by the Christian publisher, Zonderkidz, a subsidiary of Zondervan. The ARCs are out (that's advance review copies) and the promotion is beginning.

This week Elizabeth met with her agent, the publisher's PR person, and the marketing director to approve the four page plan to promote her book before it becomes available in bookstores. (It has already been listed online in Barnes and Noble and Amazon, who will be able to ship in August.)

The book is entitled Saint Training by Elizabeth Fixmer, who spent her elementary years at St. Joseph School in Fort Atkinson reading the Lives of the Saints.

While researching this book she went back to St. Joe's school to see if the saint books were still there. Sure enough! And guess who was the last kid to sign one out? Mary Beth Fixmer, the name she went by throughout her youth. (She didn't use her baptismal name, Eli-zabeth, until she became a psychotherapist in Denver.)

The heroine is a 12-year-old girl in a Catholic school in 1967, a year with historical significance: the Vietnam War, the race riots, the upheaval in the Church, Father Groppi's march in Milwaukee, all things that had a profound effect on Mary Clare's big family, and all things that will make this a must-read for those of us who lived through that era as well as today's kids who desire a clearer understanding of their parents' and grandparents' lives.

Vicarious victories

Although I have self-published two of my own books, it is exciting to me to read the promotional plans of Elizabeth's publisher, using such words as: "witty, profound, and real, this humorous story about a girl with ordinary relatable problems will appeal to the wide audience who enjoys the popular historical fiction genre," and "strong literary appeal that teachers and librarians will want to share with their students."

Promotion is going into full swing starting Monday with her first radio interview. You can follow her adventures by logging onto her Web site, ElizabethFixmer.com, where she will be blending her backgrounds in psychotherapy and children's literature by reviewing books that help kids resolve their emotional problems through stories.

If we live long enough, there's no end to the victories we can achieve vicariously through our offspring. I'd love to hear some of your stories, too.

And thanks so much to all of you who supported me for the past three years and expressed your sympathies over the recent death of my husband and shared your stories about losing your spouse. It makes me feel like we are all one big family. God bless you!

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