I had just dropped off a van full of kids at the pool on a school field trip when I decided I needed a coffee because everyone needs caffeine on a field trip. Home isn’t far, so I made my way there to make my extra dry cappuccino. I opened the door and found Scott in the kitchen. He pointed to a box on the counter. “Your books are here! I wanted to open it, but I thought I should wait for you.”
My books. My heart caught in my throat. Instead of tearing open the box, I circled it. “Go ahead. You can open it.”
Scott ripped open the box and picked up a book. I stared at them. Stacked neatly, one on top of the other, Fancy Feet: turning my tragedy into hope. My sparkly red shoes on every cover. My words on each page. I picked up a book, opened it, and shut it. Chapter 1, 15, 28…Acknowledgments. Uneasiness formed a hard knot in my stomach. I looked over at Scott who had begun to read the book. “You’re reading it now?”
“Yeah. This is awesome. We’ve been waiting a long time for this. Don’t you want to?”
I grabbed my phone and snapped a picture. Because I’m supposed to capture this moment. My book is here. It’s here! I’m supposed to be excited, but I’m not. I’m nervous. Apprehensive. Will people like my book? I snapped a photo of the box of books and posted it to Facebook. “A case of books! That I wrote.”
That hard knot of apprehension bloomed and then slowly shrank as your comments and emails and texts made their way to me sharing in my good news. Because this was good news. In the midst of worry, I’d forgotten this was good news, great news. I wrote a manuscript that became a book that got published. I’m an author.
A few friends and family who picked up early copies gave me more good news. I received texts like this one from my friend Jenn: “Just had to choke back tears at end of chapter 8. It’s so intimate, vulnerable and brave. You just let the reader feel with you. It’s beautiful.” And there were a few back and forth texts from my friend Tanya who said: “The book is so you. All I hear is you.” A request was made to the library for my book which will be a neighborhood’s book club choice. A dream come true.
The hard knot in my stomach disappeared and I felt gratitude, relief, and, finally, a sliver of excitement. People like my book. They’re seeing what I want for them to see. Through burns, amputations, the loss of a best friend, enduring more than 20 surgeries and a trial, there was hope. Hope was there from the beginning, woven through my entire journey, and here today.