The boy without a story

It’s been a long time since I wrote about Leo. A year, to be exact. But, there’s a good reason for that. A VERY good reason.
 
When I’m teaching creative writing courses, I tell my students that every story is rooted in conflict. I write “No problem = no story” in red marker on the whiteboard and underline it three times.
 
People are naturally stimulated by drama. We love to gape from the sidelines as others find themselves in peril. The girl being chased by a monster. The man hanging off a cliff. The kitten in a tree. Some of us feel compelled dive in to save the day, while others wait for the conclusion to reveal itself, hoping for the best. We love both real and imaginary stories that take us to the edge.
 
As a nonfiction writer, I tend to follow human interest stories. People exploring. People overcoming disabilities and disease. People surpassing expectations for their age, class, gender, size, shape, or color. People finding courage and using it. “Will he/she make it?” is the first question on my mind. “How?” is the second. I like triumphs, not tragedies, but, like most readers, I like don’t lie to read a story unless the hero overcomes some form of adversity. “No problem = no story.”
 
Leo just turned two and celebrated with a construction-themed birthday party. He loves tractors and trucks, cats and dogs, books and blocks, food and more food. Every morning, he climbs into bed with me and says in his sweet voice, “Mommy? Hold you!” The other day, he said the Sign of the Cross before I gave him an Oreo in our tree fort. He has enormous brown eyes and laughs often.
 
And that’s it. That’s Leo’s story. Or should I say, his “profile?”
 
I don’t tell many stories about Leo because, praise be to God, there aren’t many. He spends his time with me, Patrick, his brothers and his grandparents, and gets along great with everyone (even our temperamental cats). He doesn’t go to school. Everything he needs is provided for him. Leo’s life is far from boring, but it’s simple and carefree. It’s not the kind of life anyone wants to read about. And isn’t that a wonderful thing?
 
It makes me think about how Jesus disappears from the time the Holy Family flees through Egypt until He is lost in the temple at age 12. I like to believe that He had a happy, peaceful childhood that was so free of conflict that there was nothing to write.
 
Big brothers Collin and Frank have their own share of struggles with school, sports, friendships, and the growing pains along the path to independence. I could write a book about each of them and someday far too soon, drama will find its way into Leo’s life. But, for now, I’d like for Leo’s life to consist of eating, sleeping, playing, reading, cuddling, learning, and growing in peace and quiet.     

Catholic Review

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.