Sunday, November 13, 2011

The perfect pick-me-up

I spent most of today on the couch, hiding under a pillow. Ryan's been running a high fever all weekend, and my body is fighting whatever he has; I feel like I got sideswiped by a truck.

From under my pillow, I heard Stu trying to get my attention, saying "Honey, it's time to pull yourself together and get excited."

I peeked out. Stu was holding the world's most thrillingly beautiful padded manila envelope. Inside were six paperback copies of Ben Has Autism, Ben Is Awesome.

"It's your book!" he cooed.

My book.
Please excuse the mess. And the unwashed hair. Ah, screw it, no excuses. Deal with my mess!

Breathe.

Nearly two years from when I had written it.

My first book. In my hands.

Yeah, you know I cried. It would be a more surprising story if I hadn't.

I read it, pointed out the things that weren't exactly as they were supposed to be, breathed, sniffled.

My book.

Instantly cured for the moment, I showed a copy to Ryan. I showed him my name on the cover. He read the dedication: "For Ryan." I read to him. I read him the book I wrote for him and for kids like him. I don't know if Ryan liked the book, but he paid attention, which is as much as I could hope for on the first read of a new book. I imagine we'll be reading it again. He made a monster face when Ben made a monster face. He made an elephant sound when Ben made an elephant sound. He seemed to identify with Ben - they have a few things in common, you know...

Artwork (c) Rebecca Rivard

As I read the word Autism aloud, I wondered if my message would actually get through to Ryan. I imagined other parents struggling to say that word in the presence of their ASD children for the first time. I hope this book will make that conversation easier to start.


Ben Has Autism, Ben Is Awesome is available direct from Jason and Nordic Publishers in both paperback and hardcover. Pick one up for a child in your life, or donate a copy to your local school or library!

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