We Are Really Doing This!
My sweet, amazing son was diagnosed with multiple severe food allergies at 18 months old. That news started our entire family on a tangent that seemed overwhelming and earth shattering at the time, but that ended up being a blessing in many unexpected ways.
It may seem odd to say that something as daunting as severe food allergies could be a blessing, but it was. We learned how to cook and prepare our foods from scratch, using real, whole foods. Yes, we missed out on many events, but that meant we were also gifted with more quality time as a family when the kids were young. We had money to spend on experiences like trips and activities since we avoided eating at restaurants and didn't buy any junk foods from those center grocery aisles.
I have always felt like the hardest part was the lack of compassion in those around us. Some were downright mean. One man came up to me after a school meeting, fuming mad over the request I had made to keep all foods out of the classroom. I didn't ask for them to ban all foods containing dairy, soy, and egg (even though my son was anaphylactic to all three), I merely asked them to keep all foods and celebrations in the cafeteria so my son could remain safe while learning.
This man came right into my personal space, and began yelling at me while poking his finger inches from my face. The entire time, Logan was behind my legs, staring at us with wide eyes. Unfortunately, that meant Logan heard him when he told me, repeatedly, that his children should not have to be inconvenienced because of my son's issues. Just before he stormed off to his car, he reminded me, loudly, that survival of the fittest was a concept that has been around since the dawn of time. If Logan was too weak to be in school, he should just stay home.
Imagine how that must have made Logan feel. I know how I felt in that moment, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.
Anyway, this book all started with yet another insensitive man. If you already read this elsewhere, skip this paragraph. :-) Logan was still in elementary school--maybe third grade? We were at an ice cream social, and I was there to make sure Logan was safe. It was the only way they would let him stay. This man seemed appalled that Logan couldn't have the ice cream and exclaimed, "Being a kid who can't eat ice cream is like a fish out of water." When I told Logan that wasn't true because a fish would die out of water, but he could live just fine eating all the other wonderful foods he loved; Logan replied, "Yeah, but it is like being a frog who can't eat flies, it is just wrong!"
On the way home that day, Logan, his three sisters and I all brainstormed fun story ideas around the idea of a frog who couldn't eat flies. Logan loved books, and I thought it would be a fun way to get his mind off it, and turn it into something happy. When I got home, I sat down, researched what frogs ate, and wrote the entire rough draft in a few hours. I worked until about 3am. It was like God was giving me the words, because it all just came to me. Most of the work was trying to get the rhyming and syllable counts just right.
Then, it just sat in my computer collecting cyberspace dust for a few years, until I got the urge to pick it up again. I sent it off to an editor and a few friends I trusted. One told me I should cut out the whole beginning and just have him on the journey--let the reader figure out what was going on. So, I tried removing it. Then, another told me it lacked staging up front and needed more of a setup. Since I wasn't sure how to revise it, I let it sit again.
Until this past August. A new neighbor mentioned that her niece was diagnosed with a severe food allergy and her sister was looking for books that would help her niece feel better, but they couldn't find any. I took that as a sign from God that it was time to pick this back up.
I must have been right, because this time, everything has just fallen into place easily. My first-choice editor chose my book and loved it just the way it was. I found the perfect cover and interior page designer. Paula was able to make the time to do the illustrations. Now, here we are, on December 17th, and I just received the final interior book pages. The cover and interior is finished, I am finalizing my official Amazon Author Page and the books are uploading to Ingram Sparks and Amazon, which means the official pre-orders will be live soon.
Paula and I are both beyond excited to finally be sharing this story with all of you. It is never completely easy putting your creative works out in the world. This is our first book baby. And just like with a human baby, we are overwhelmed with wonder, joy, and maybe just a bit of nervousness.