I have five months to go. The publication date for The Art of Adapting is July 29, 2014. Which means that this is the lull before the lifelong dream comes true. I'm not an impatient person by nature, and I'm not in a rush to skip all of this lovely anticipation to get to my release date. Mostly.
I'm enjoying waking each morning and realizing all over again that this is no dream, it's really happening. I'm living in the moment, awash in gratitude and pride and possibility. And yet, it's a strange place to be, waiting for months on end to see how my novel will be received. The ARCs (advanced reader copies) of The Art of Adapting have been printed and are ready to be sent out to authors for blurbs and for reviewers to get a crack at. That alone is enough to cause some jitters. Will they like my characters? Will they feel the heart of the story? Will they find the family dynamics believable? Will they be able to tell I've never set foot on the college campus that I used in several scenes?
It's a good kind of limbo, I keep telling myself. I spend my quiet days working on my next book, caring for my daughters, visiting with friends and family, walking the dog, doing yoga. I have a balance going now that may shift come July, when book promotion kicks into high gear. I don't want to take a moment of this quiet phase for granted. But some days I think the waiting is just as distracting as the flurry of publication will be. That's when it's good to be a mom to young kids. Because as excited as they are that I have a book coming out, they live in the immediate present like no one else. When they are tired or hungry or desperate to show me the dance they've just choreographed, nothing else matters.
We were walking into school the other day, talking about the various jobs that people do, and my youngest daughter said, "Only you don't have a job." I felt my former stay-at-home mom hackles rising, in which I sometimes had to remind people that taking care of two little ones 24/7 is an exhausting non-paying job, and that I also did editing work on the side. Then she said: "You have a career." I asked her what the difference is, and she said that a job is work you do for money. A career is doing something you love for life. So, there's that. I would've loved to to teach my daughter that valuable lesson, had I thought of it. I'm glad she learned it on her own.
I get to experience this launch into authordom twice: once by myself, and again through the eyes of my kids. They get that this has been a lifelong dream. That I started writing stories when I was the same age they are now. That there were a lot of starts and stops along the way. And that the most important thing is that I never gave up. But they also get that having a book come out doesn't change my role as their mom one bit.
Sometimes I'm teaching them, and sometimes they're teaching me. I've shown them that no dreams are too big, that nothing is impossible, that the only obstacle between you and your dream is you. And they are teaching me that today is a day for watching the rain come down the window, or for teaching the dog to jump through a hula hoop, or for dreaming up the next story. The waiting game can be hard. I'm grateful to have my girls here to wait alongside me, and to pull me out of the waiting mindset as often as possible. Right now they're calling me into the other room, because they have finished their homework and want me to check it, and after that they need their nails painted. Right now. This is the moment I'm in. A quiet afternoon with my girls, who think I have any idea what they're talking about with open number lines and division pictographs. And who need blue and pink nails. Desperately. So off I go. One day closer to publication.