Married Single Mom – Husband travels. Kids run amuck. House rules out of order. Breakfast for dinner. Unmade beds.
That was the definition of me last week. It was getting grueling as I had to accomplish the kids after school schedules, exclusively. Three of them; one of me. You get the picture.
It was Sunday night and I was exhausted after driving hours to an out of town hockey game. I wasn’t thrilled to handle the bedtime routine alone, again, and I couldn’t wait to turn in. Checking my email one final time before heading to bed immediately changed my game plan.
I received a confirmation that our family was invited to meet the author of The Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series at his hotel for a private meet and greet the next morning. I’m am literally in shock at our good news. I got the kids out of bed, it’s only 9:30pm, to tell them the exciting news. We were going to meet Jeff Kinney! Jeff was on his book tour promoting, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, â€œThe Third Wheel.â€ He was traveling across the country in a huge Diary of a Wimpy Kid Tour Bus and he was making four stops through Michigan that day.
The only catch was that we needed to wake at 4:30am to get ready and arrive to his hotel by 7am which was an hour away from our home. I don’t think any of us slept a wink anticipating our adventure the next morning.
I knew I had to deal with rush hour traffic but I didn’t expect the white thick fog hanging on the roadway. The drive was wretched; nonetheless, we arrived early. At least, I was entertained with Wimpy Kid talk of the “cheese touch” and “monkeys in the walls.”
I met Alysia from Michigal who was also invited to meet Jeff. There was just one glitch. Neither of us had the phone number to Jeff’s PR rep, Jason, who we were to make contact with. The hotel wasn’t able to be of assistance (tight security) so we just sat in the lobby to wait and tackle anyone who remotely looked like part of his team.
Low and behold, the PR team came walking through in dead giveaway Diary of a Wimpy Kid t-shirts! Thank you, God!
We approached Jason first who was extremely receptive and accommodating to us, inviting us to eat breakfast with him and the team as we discuss details. Our kids hung out in the lobby across from us anticipating the questions they were going to ask Jeff.
Jason was concerned over the lack of time that we may have with Jeff and didn’t want to rush our experience; therefore, he offered us a private book signing on the Wimpy Kid tour bus while he travel to his first book store signing of the day. Pinch me! My kids were going to flip.
In the meantime, we never expected Jeff Kinney, himself, to walk over and make conversation with the kids so casually. He was so incredibly nice!
In my opinion, you can tell a lot about the character of a person by the way they talk to children. Jeff immediately engaged them, asking questions and expressing an interest in all of them. After a few minutes of small talk, we boarded the bus while Alysia quickly interviewed Jeff.
On the bus, Jeff ate breakfast while entertaining the kid’s questions about how long it takes him to write a book (9 mos), how he creates his illustrations (on the computer) and why Manny is so weird (aren’t all little brothers?). When their questions dried up, Jeff kept the conversation going by connecting with each child asking them about their interests, discussing sibling rivalry, tv shows, Poptropica, and ultimately talking out a book scenario with some of the kids suggestions. We will die if the video game/tv scenario shows up in his next book! Fingers crossed.
Jen from People I Want to Punch in the Throat also wrote about her book signing with him earlier on his tour in her hometown. She signed two of her books, Spending the Holidays with People I Want to Punch in the Throat, for Jeff. I thought it would be bighearted of me to add my signature on chapter 10 so Jeff could have a one-of-a kind book with Punch and Blossom signatures. (If you’re confused you may want to catch up here). However, the book was not available but you bet I was looking for a glimpse of it on the bus!
Jeff was nothing but down to earth and a gracious host who created a relaxing atmosphere for all of us. I am so proud that my children had this opportunity. Jeff has inspired some young authors and illustrators in my house. Thank you, Jeff!
We left with signed books, pictures with Jeff and the Diary of a Wimpy Kid bus, and the coolest experience ever! However, more importantly we left with an impression of a truly genuine person who really cares about his young audience, loves his fans and is generous with his time.
It’s not too often that we can meet an award-winning author in the morning and still make it to school on time. Thanks to his PR team for coordinating such a feat! I emailed pictures to my kid’s teachers for confirmation of their rock star story because it sounds made-up!
Diary of a Wimpy Kid, â€œThe Third Wheelâ€ book review and giveaway coming soon.