When Rachel Eugster dropped her son off at kindergarten, he said he missed her so much that he wished she was the tiniest mommy in the world so he could keep her in his pocket all day.
Samuel, her son, is now in university. And while it’s years later, Eugster has turned that moment into a book called The Pocket Mommy, which will be officially launched at Kaleidoscope Kids’ Books on September 22.
“I knew there was a book there,” says Eugster, a Hintonburg resident. “But it didn’t spring forth fully formed at first.”
Eugster says it took years of re-writing the manuscript before it became the product that readers will see today.
The story is about a child named Samuel, who wishes for a tiny mommy who can fit in his pocket so that she can be with him while he’s at school. His mother slips a pretend tiny mommy into his pocket, and to his delight, she comes to life. The mommy helps Samuel remember words to songs and keeps him company, but he quickly realizes that having a mom at kindergarten isn’t that much fun – the tiny mommy corrects his artwork, tries to clean the guinea pig cage and rearranges the bookshelf.
As a mother, Eugster says she was inspired by things her children said, including the moment she dropped Samuel off at kindergarten.
“Being a parent gives you an understanding of what kids respond to and what delights them,” she says. “This was a real anxiety, and a real apprehension, that my son wrestled with. It’s hard to have your primary source of comfort and security walk away from you. It’s also hard for the parent. But it’s a necessary part of growing up. I do hope there are people who find this story something to laugh about, realize it’s not so bad, and that the story brings a bit of comfort.”
Eugster has written for both child and adult audiences before. She started out as a writer and editor for a walking magazine when she was living in Boston. She continued to freelance magazine and newspaper pieces when she moved to Ottawa – focusing on food and nutrition, fitness and lifestyle stories.
But she also had an interest in writing for children and in children’s literature. She has written magazine articles for children, including on horse communication, reawakening volcanoes and exploding toads. She has also authored a five-book series for children called Ingredients of a Balanced Diet, about food and nutrition.
Eugster says The Pocket Mommy is her first picture book and has allowed her to explore her creativity. She adds that it feels great to see The Pocket Mommy as a living, breathing book.
“It’s pretty darned exciting,” she says, adding that seeing her children off to university is another life moment that’s all about letting go. “In a way, university is only practice for the day they get married, move out, and have their own households. Life is a series of these moments.”
The Pocket Mommy will be officially launched at Kaleidoscope Kids’ Books on Sept. 22 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
For more information on the book, visit: suspendedsentences.blogspot.ca.