Two weeks ago I went to Old Navy to buy new clothes for my kids. My boys are growing like those little magic capsule thingies they love to play with – one night they drink a glass of milk, the next morning their pants are three inches too short and they’re sporting belly shirts. It’s insane. Anyway, Old Navy happens to be next to a Barnes and Noble. It had been a little over a week since the release of my book, and I decided to take a stroll through B&N to see if Holding Avery was on the shelves.
I knew Barnes and Noble carried my book online – tons of bookstores carry my book online – but I wasn’t 100 percent sure they’d have it in-store. I walked in, took a deep breath, and told myself not to be disappointed if it wasn’t there. I wandered through the biographies, breathless, and came face-to-face with Hillary Clinton on more than one occasion. Not the actual Hillary Clinton, of course, but the giant picture of her on the cover of her brand-new memoir. (The memoir that came out the same day as Holding Avery, I might add.) I passed scores of books by famous people, but I didn’t see my own. I headed for the self-help section. My story is a memoir – a biography – but it’s also classified as self-help. Since I’m not exactly on the same plane as former first ladies and aging superstars, I figured it was worth a shot. As I turned down that aisle, my heart stopped. There it was, the white feather, my name in print, Avery’s name in print…I had a faceout, too, so my book was right there for the world to see, begging to be read.
It’s hard to actually put this feeling into words – think being five years old again on Christmas morning, and then multiply that by a thousand. In short, it was amazing. I looked around; a man sat on the floor a few feet away, perusing a book. It took all my willpower not to tap him on the shoulder ask him if I looked like the lady on the back of Holding Avery. Instead I shamelessly took a selfie with my book, stared at it for another minute, and left.
A few days later we had a rainy Sunday. After breakfast with my husband and boys, we took a bookstore tour through the Dallas Metroplex, and yes, I took selfies every time I found my book on the shelves. I couldn’t help it. It was exciting stuff.
It’s also a timely distraction for me. The last few days of June and the first few days of July are always hard for me. At this very moment six years ago, I was sitting in a hospital bed trying to decide if I was ready to start the process of birthing my stillborn daughter. I felt pretty lousy; I felt extremely hopeless. Back then I couldn’t imagine the beautiful future that was waiting for me, completed by two incredible little boys who would come into my life and help me find happiness.
I also couldn’t fathom that the little girl I was mourning, a baby who graced this earth for just an instant, would have the ability to leave such a long-lasting impression on so many. Tomorrow is Avery’s sixth birthday. While she may not be here to celebrate, her legacy lives on in print.
And that feels amazing, too.