After several weeks delay, the books finally arrived on my doorstep! Special Gifts: Women Writers on the Hope, the Heartache and the Happiness of Raising a Special Needs Child. The cover looks great, the pages clean and crisp, and there it is: my name in the table of contents and my essay with a byline.
Now that the initial press run is done and out, I get to pound the pavement with books in hand, setting up booktalks and signings, spreading the word to parents, moms, dads, teachers, social workers, healthcare professionals--anyone who loves or works with special needs children.
A caveat to future readers: This book doesn't sugar coat the lives of the women telling their chidren's stories. The essays are honest and raw. But I strongly believe the honesty is what helps make the book such a powerful read. Yes, the stories often leave one searching for a box of tissue, but hope echoes bright amidst the angst, anger, and frustration, offering readers insights and reassurance that they are not alone as they navigate the trenches with a special-needs kids.