Yesterday was a big day for this literary rookie. It was big because advance copies of LIFE AFTER YES arrived. For the first time, my story was not a collection of loose pages, but an actual book. And I held it. I flipped through it. I ran my finger along the spine. I smiled. A lot.
But. Yes, there is a but. (Isn't there always?)
But yesterday was not like I imagined it would be. Maybe I should not admit this, but I have been anticipating yesterday for a while now. Fellow authors had told me that the day on which galleys arrive is a Big Day, a day I would not forget, a day that would make everything seem real. This all made sense to me.
I don't know what I expected. I didn't expect the literazzi to congregate on my front stoop waiting to get their money shot. I didn't expect flowers or balloons. I didn't expect a whole lot of hoopla. I didn't expect a glamorous unveiling. I don't know what I expected the day to be like. I really don't. But I do know that I expected the day to be a bit different than it was.
Enough about expectations versus reality. About my yesterday...
Today is Thursday. Which means that yesterday was Wednesday. And this is pertinent only because Wednesday is the day on which I am solo with the girls and when my flaws as a parent and as a person become exquisitely exposed. Yesterday was no exception. In fact, yesterday was the rule.
The day began like any other Wednesday. Baby and I stood by the front door and said bye bye as Husband and Toddler left for school. Once they were out of sight, Baby turned beet red and cried like her finger was caught in the door. To say that she is a bit of a Daddy's girl these days is a severe understatement.
Moments later, her tears ran dry and our morning was underway. Together, we worked hard to create a cyclone of chaos and clutter. We scattered the contents of the diaper bag. We splattered apple sauce on the newly-cleaned rug. We ripped pages out of books and then said, "Uh oh." We were busy. Working hard.
And then the doorbell rang. Baby and I looked at each other, locking blue eyes in a moment of curiosity and confusion. And then I realized what was happening. We ran to the door. I opened it. A nice man whose face I wish I remembered smiled and handed me a box. Medium-sized. I thanked him. I studied the print on the box. Sure enough, it said HarperCollins.
"They're here!" I said to Baby.
And then I placed the box down on the floor. Right there next to the door. Baby and I crouched down next to it. I tore into it. Ripped it open. Baby pulled the bubble wrap from the top and played with it. I pulled something else out.
In my shaking hands, I held it. I showed it to my little girl.
"Booooook," she said and went back to her bubble wrap. And I just sat there, on the hardwood floor, in a divine daze, looking at it. Baby pulled a book out of the box and studied it and flipped the pages like I had done moments before. And this warmed my heart. So I decided to take a picture.
And then Baby chucked that book and a few others on the floor. And then popped up and disappeared into the living room. In an effort to preserve order, I collected the books and the bubble wrap from the floor and put them back in the box. Baby reappeared by my side. Clutching a bag of Veggie Booty. She looked me in the eye and then put the bag in the box too.
And then we retired to the living room to play some more. She brought the Booty. I brought my book. Every few moments, I picked up the book and tried to read a bit. But Baby didn't like this. Soon, my book was banished to the coffee table chaos where it would hang out with snacks and remotes and magazines. It ended up under a pair of Dora dominoes. Right where it belonged.
I tried to call Husband. To tell him that this monumental day had finally arrived! I could not reach him. I left messages. I left texts.
Baby and I picked up Toddler from school. And then we came back home. Toddler skipped into the living room. I followed, clutching a copy of my book. Toddler made herself comfy on the couch.
"Guess what?" I asked.
"What?" Toddler asked.
"This is Mommy's book."
Toddler ignored me. "I want to watch a TV show."
"Okay, but in a minute. Look. This is Mommy's book."
Toddler glanced over and said, "Okay."
"Mommy wrote the words in this book. All by herself."
And then Toddler looked at me. Actually looked at me. And rolled her eyes like she was a teenager and said one word, "Good."
The rest of the afternoon proceeded like most other Wednesdays. My girls giggled. And fought. And cried. And dumped small items all over the carpet. And refused to eat anything with a morsel of nutritional value. Toddler napped, but Baby refused. I put her in her crib, but she screamed Daddy over and over. Even though this was Mommy's day.
And when I couldn't stand it anymore, I declared defeat and retrieved her from her crib. Her cheeks were flushed. Her eyes were wet. Her neck was sweaty. I brought her back to the living room, the room I had grand plans to tidy. We sat down on the couch next to my computer. I had planned to get some work done, to leave some comments on my favorite blogs, to cross some things off that endless list.
But Baby had other plans. She snuggled up to me and said "Mommy" and then nodded off to sleep. On me. Something she hadn't done since she was weeks old. I shut my laptop. I sat there. Holding her. Staring at my book. Wondering if I could reach it without waking her. But then I decided not to try. I closed my eyes too.
And the peace was short-lived. Soon, Baby was up. And so was Toddler. Soon, they were back to their old tricks. Making messes. Making me crazy. The poetic crescendo came at the end of the day when Toddler told me she had to go potty. The three of us went to the bathroom. Toddler, my big girl, climbed up onto the toilet all by herself.
And I heard my phone ring in the other room. I knew it was Husband. Excited, I ran to get it.
Before I could answer it, I heard Toddler crying. And hard. "Mommy!"
I ran back to the bathroom. Toddler had fallen in the toilet. She looked up at me, panicked, arms and legs flailing like a bug. And I rescued her. Kissed away her tears. Dried her off. Flushed.
I got the girls situated in front of a television show. I surveyed the damage in my living room. And then I hopped up. I walked to the box. One by one, I pulled the books from it. I carried them into the kitchen. I shoved dirty plates and mail piles to make space on the counter. And then, slowly, methodically, I stacked my books up. One on top of another.
A tiny, tidy, triumphant tower.
And then I took a picture. So I would remember my day. A big day. Not the glamorous and grand day I'd secretly pictured. But a big day. A day filled with babies and books and booty.
A day filled with bounty.
When Husband came home, the girls were running wild. Naked. Wearing my necklaces. My shirt was soaked with toilet water and chicken soup. My pants were caked with diaper cream. With zero fanfare, I handed my man a copy of my book and said two words, "It's here."
And Husband smiled. And kissed me on the cheek. And then we went back to chasing our sweet girls.
Just another Wednesday. A rough day. A raw day. A real day.
A big day.
What's your hardest day of the week? Why? Have there been big days in your life that you foolishly assumed would be fabulous and flawless that turned out to be stuffed with mishaps and real life?
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