I wrote this story two years ago to help me make sense of what was happening to my son. Today, it is finally published (available in print on Amazon and the Black Bed Sheet bookstore and other outlets, as well as digital formats, shortly).
To Stevie Hannigan: Before you, The Spinfords was just words on a page. You brought them to life, and for that you will always hold a special place in my heart.
To Nicholas Grabowsky: You gave us a shot when no one else would, and you’ve done the same for so many other undiscovered authors. The karma you’ve built up for all the dreams you’ve made come true is exponential.
To Sebastian: You’ve given mommy the gift of seeing the world in a different way. I will love you fiercely, now and for always.
To all children: Your differences are your strengths, not your weaknesses. Use them to be brave.
Wow, so hey, 2016, hows-about you take it easy now that summer’s upon us?
Well things never calmed down for me since I last blogged. I guess I never really expected them to, but they did pile up on each other in a way I never expected. Ah well…at least I know I’m living right?
So after WORKING OUR BUTS OFF!!!!! on The Spinfords, it FINALLY went up for preorder at the beginning of the month. So our “official release” events turned into “pre-release” events, but that’s ok. We couldnt’ have asked for a better time, and even though I’m exhausted, I wanted to make sure I shared some images from our visit to Bayville School in NJ and our adorable little gathering at The Dessertist Store & Studio in Croton in New York before much more time passed. I’m always so honored and humbled by the earnest and genuine interest and excitement from our audiences. All I can hope is that we didn’t let them down with this story that we are so so proud of.
Anyway, enjoy the pictures and I also needed to share that our new release date is JUNE 6, 2016 (yes, we mean it this time!!) AND, in the meantime, if you’ve had the privilege of getting your hands on a copy before then, please PUH-LEASE head over to Amazon and leave us an honest review! OH, and go check out the amazing website our publisher whipped up for the new Blue Bed Sheet division of Black Bed Sheet Books! It’s still a work in progress, but I love it!
The world will finally meet The Spinfords during none other than Children’s Book Week (May 2-8 )! Stevie and I will be celebrating the 97th annual edition of this amazing week-long event with not one, but TWO release parties!
First, we’ll be visiting the awesome second-graders at Bayville Elementary School in Bayville, NJ on Thursday, May 5, and creating some one-of-a-kind web art! Those little buggers will be the first to get their hands on The Spinfords, making them quite the VIP audience. Lucky .
Then Friday, May 6—our OFFICIAL release day—we’ll make our way up north to Croton on Hudson, NY to The Dessertist Studio & Store for the big bash. Starting at 5 p.m. for just $5, kids can come in and get an autographed copy of the book, a mini cupcake to decorate, AND Stevie will be breakin’ out the big sketchpad to turn all little guests into a Spinford! He’ll be drawing up caricatures of them, all on eight legs of course.
We’re so excited! And the best part? Twenty-five percent of all proceeds from the night will go towards The Happy Soul project, an organization I’ve blogged about on here before which celebrates the differences in all of us. Just like Salvatore does
ARCs should be ready to send out by April 8 (fingers crossed) to those I’ve promised them to. If you’re interested in receiving one please contact me through the contact page (tab is above).
Well actually it’s been a couple years if I’m being honest. Two years of a rollercoaster ride I’m really ready to get off. But I’m coming to accept that that is my new reality. And I better get used to it.
On Saturday, Sebastian will be three years old. He was 17 months old when we first started working with Early Intervention because he wasn’t talking yet and wouldn’t imitate anything we were doing either. Since then, we’ve tackled much more than just speech problems, including sensory processing disorder, and most recently an autism diagnosis. We juggle about 6-7 different opinions at any given time, from therapists to doctors, to family and friends, and of course, each other. It’s enough to drive you to drink sometimes because there seems to be no rhyme or reason to how these things play out. Just when we think we’re on the right track, a new issue arises. And something that seems so small to the naked eye, propels us as parents into panic mode when he suddenly stops doing or saying things that he has been for months.
Up until now, a very small part of me (yes, probably naively and foolishly) believed that a lot of this was just some awful growing pains some kids go through and that most of it will eventually fade away. Today was different, the climax of three days of bad news and happenings, when I started to wonder, what if this actually gets worse? How much of an issue will this actually be for the rest of his life? For all the bitching I did above, the kid has come SO far, and I often overlook how much he does tolerate for an almost 3-year-old. For that to all get reversed would break my heart.
And then I start to spiral even further and ask “Will he ever be able to be on his own?” “Will he ever make meaningful relationships?” “”Will he ever get married?” “Is he damned to a life of loneliness?”
And on and on and on and on………
I think the answer to all of those questions is to slow my roll, no matter how hard that might be.
“We need to calm down,” said my husband as he stood next to me crouched over the bath scrubbing down said 3-year-old.
“What’d ya mean?” I asked.
He means that anxiety feeds anxiety and it’s time to make sure we are being his strength 100 PERCENT of the time. There’s no crying in baseball and all that jazz. At the end of the day, Sebastian is a happy kid with a wild little spirit I would never want to stifle. And he has a dad who shows him every single day what it means to be a strong partner and father by facing issues head on, rather than shutting down and running away like many men you can read about on yahoo news and the like. Remind me to hug my in-laws extra tight for that one when they come celebrate on Saturday.
For now,, I’m making a new new year’s resolution. I don’t get to ask those questions anymore. What I do get to do is start small, because the only way out of this alive is to take it one step at a time. So, first goal: enjoy childhood. Plain and simple. Be able to play and enjoy other kids his age without being debilitated by anxiety. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.
So to get back to where we started, I embrace this crazy ride for you little boy. Truth be told, I wouldn’t have it any other way because it’s you. And I’d move mountains for you.
Good riddance “today.” I will be better in the morning.
I wanted to share this here as well before the month was out. Below is my last editorial for the magazine I work for and a good description of where I’m at in life right now.
Well we just wouldn’t be us if we weren’t forever keeping you on your toes, now would we?
So other than to say how damn proud I am of our first issue of 2016, I have some other news to deliver. After just a few short months at the helm, I have made the decision to step down from my role as editor in chief of this awesome magazine.
While I can’t say the choice was a difficult one, it is certainly bittersweet as this position is something I’ve been working toward for years now. But it’s all for this little face to the bottom left, who has graced this page in the past because I just can’t help myself.
My son, Sebastian, has been dealing with a number of developmental issues for a while now, one of them being something called Sensory Processing Disorder which affects his speech and ability to learn and play. Don’t worry, he’s one tough cookie and has powered through the past year and a half of therapies to make incredible strides. But it’s something we need to keep plugging away at, every day, and I recently came to the realization that I belong right by his side through all of it. Nowhere else.
Another reason this decision was an easy one is because I know you are all going to be in incredibly good hands. Kadie Yale, our product seeker extraordinaire, design historian, and Parsons grad will be stepping into my role, and is a force to be reckoned with. You should expect to see her face around the country this year plucking the most original and groundbreaking introductions and people from the bunch.
Chris Curtland, our managing editor and all around “nice guy,” is making moves himself—big ones. Chris will be relocating very soon to the tri-state area to help cover this all important territory for us. This country boy should already be hitting the big city by the time this goes to press, so just look for the guy wandering around with a stalk of wheat dangling from his lip.
And then of course there’s Kim Barbrie, team “mom” and legendary Art Director of i+s for 14 years now. It’s her visual class and style that are the true drivers of this magazine. Last but not least, there’s our editor-at-large Rob Nieminen. I like to call him the “brains” of the operation as he whips up those hard-hitting print CEUs we’re known for.
Oh right, and there’s still me! I’ll now be serving as a deputy editor come February, so feel free to reach out to me at any time, at firstname.lastname@example.org or my new number (201) 264-9872.
This scrappy little team of firecrackers is the best in the business. I should know…I’ve been around long enough to be able to say that. So here’s to them, here’s to you and here’s to my boy. I hope you all love our refresh and refocus, and as our publisher Mike Stanley always says, remember: “Everything’s going to be ok.”
If you’ve been following along here, you’ve seen me blog about this project for about a year now. But I can FINALLY report that The Spinfords–my first children’s book–will be published in pre-release February of next year and official release in March by Blue Bed Sheet Books (yes, Black Bed Sheet’s children’s line!)
I can’t tell you how excited I am to get this story out into the world and we’ll be chronicling the illustration and promotion process for sure, so stay tuned for LOTS of updates. But I thought I’d leave you with a little Halloween inspiration from someone I’ve introduced before: graphic artist, illustrator, animator, jack of all trades and master of adorableness Stevie Hannigan of Stevie Projects who will be bringing The Spinfords to life.
Below he’ll talk you through some fun DIY Halloween decorations, all the while making you crackup!