I’m standing here looking at the book- the REAL book, with real pages, a real cover… and my name on the bottom. It’s more than a bit surreal.
People ask me “How long did it take to write?”
My answer: “9 years and counting”. For this book is a snapshot of our lives so far- the fear, the joy, the challenges- and the learning. I am lucky enough to have a job where writing is considered part of what I do- and normally, I write to other professors or to teachers. But this is to fellow parents, and it’s exciting and scary and thrilling- all at the same time.
Like any author, I’m rather attached to the book. I’m nervous about people not liking it- those are MY thoughts, my experiences and my hopes that are out there now for public. As a rather shy person, it’s a bit challenging to put yourself “out there”. Criticize me professionally or intellectually, and I will happily engage in debate. But attack my family and I will fight back.
And that is the most terrifying of all- this is my family I’m putting out there. Names are changed; some experiences are glossed over; and permission was granted- but how much “informed consent” can there be from a seven- and eight-year old? Ray and Elizabeth love the idea of a book- but they have different views of what “happened”. Elizabeth has already corrected me- “Mommy, I LOVE Hannah Montana”. And I do NOT want them to think that THEY made me cry- but to know that it was the autism and Tourette’s that made me cry. It was my own feelings of inadequacy that made me cry. I love being a mother and I love being a wife. These things do not make me cry.
But I also love being a teacher. And part of being a teacher is constantly looking for opportunities to share with others so that they can learn. I know how hard it was for me- and how much research and how much reading I did when we were going through diagnosis and treatment and learning family strategies. Part of being a teacher is watching what you do and planning ways to share that with others so that they can learn also. I didn’t want another parent to do this work again, without having a resource. And so, I sat down to write and to share and to reflect. It helped me to write. It helped me to think about what we had learned. It helped me work through what had helped and what I had needed. I hope that it helps others.
And here it is- solid and real. I hope that others can learn from our experiences. I hope that my professional knowledge can be shared with other mothers so that they have an “insider” helping them. I hope that it makes a difference.