Until last week, I tackled my unusually challenging life in relative obscurity. On April 7th all of that changed with the publication of my memoir and the book launch party for My Picture Perfect Family – What Happens When One Twin Has Autism. For my whole life, I’d dreamed of writing and publishing at least one book, but I never guessed that book would be a memoir inspired by my daughter Samantha, or that I wouldn’t find time to start writing it until I was in my 50s (!!) when BOTH my twins went to college. (Yes, Samantha departed for college in 2009 at the same time as her neurotypical brother Matt). My goal in writing my memoir was to offer hope to other families who are just starting their journey of raising a child with autism. In addition, I wanted to address some of the gross misconceptions about individuals on the spectrum (especially girls) by offering a portrait of my own daughter.
Who knew there would be years of rewriting and I’ve-lost-track-of-how-many drafts? My wonderful editor and publisher, Robin Reinach knew. However, neither of us was prepared for all the behind-the-scenes work after finishing a polished final draft: extensive copy editing, creating a book cover and website, building a social platform, seeking endorsements and finding the right publicist. After some frustrating false starts, we were finally ready to release the book in April—just in time for Autism Awareness month.
Central Park Publishers threw the “picture perfect” book launch party in a spacious apartment overlooking—what else?—Central Park and the NYC skyline. My dream officially came true. Not only was I reading my own words from an actual book, but my daughter Samantha (who has perfect pitch) sang my husband’s favorite song, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” beautifully expressing her own dreams and longings. Meanwhile my son, Matt, flew in from LA to film the party! With 25 year old twins who live on opposite coasts, gathering my grown up chicks into the same room was a very special treat for me and my husband. Equally wonderful was sharing this exceptional evening with family and friends (both old and new) and with the team who helped bring my dream to fruition: first and foremost, Robin Reinach, along with Doreen Meyers, Joel Pitney and Meryl Moss.
I’m going to let the picture perfect party photos tell the rest of my story this week. Happily, I’ve been too busy writing articles for New York Metro Parents, Time.com, Ability magazine, and being interviewed by radio stations and mommy bloggers to write a regular blog post for The Never-Empty Nest. When the buzz dies down a little, I’ll return to blogging about disability issues and whatever else turns on the light bulb in my head. Meantime, a picture is supposed to be worth a thousand words. Hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed the party!