The Paperwork of a Young One by Amanda Kilpatrick

The desk is six-feet long, cluttered with a printer and the various office supplies you’d normally find on a desk: pencils, pens, paperclips, a stapler, a three-hole punch, journals, and of course that well-loved coffee cup complete with the coffee-ring stains on the wooden top of the desk. My seven-year-old son sits on the chair at the desk, his legs dangling, too short yet to hit the floor. He is doing his “paperwork.” He has computer papers spread over any spare surface he can find, grabs pens and pencils from the little cup on top of the desk, and opens up my laptop. He makes his outlines on his computer paper, sticks his notes in what he deems appropriate spots, and colors with his orange and pink highlighters. Soon papers are straggling all over my desk.

My son and I often vie for the attention of my desk; who will get the privilege of working here? Is my computer safe in my hands today? Will I have the space to open up my journal and make an entry, or will I have to fight a pile of papers and highlighters before I can even think about sitting down to write? Luckily for me, most of my writing is done in a paper journal, so my desk is not the be-all/end-all of writing. I can take my journal with me and write anywhere.

It is this little boy who keeps me on task. When I finally do get my desk back, when I finally get the chance to write, and when his papers are contained in one spot, I feel energized. I look at my son’s outlines and paperwork. He has such a passion for writing. I know where he gets this from. I, too, had this passion from the young age that he is at now. At his age, I wrote stories about riding Christmas trains with my best friend up to the North Pole to see Santa. He writes stories about playing Minecraft with his friends. They may be different subjects, but our minds are in the same imaginative place.

When my son is at my desk, I often take my journal and sit in my recliner. I write about him; he has autism and life can be hard. Then he looks over his shoulder at me and smiles, and he says, “I love you, Mom.” My heart melts. I keep writing because it’s moments like this that I can write about, and it’s this little boy that gives me these moments.



Amanda is a proud mom to three children:  Bryan, 21; Dortea, 17; and Matthew, 7. Amanda will forever be apologizing to Dortea for giving her brothers normal names. Amanda can be found writing in the wee hours of the morning, which is the only time she has to herself.

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