Last week, the editor of my book emailed to tell me that they were going to have an art department meeting about the book’s cover. She wanted to know if I had any suggestions, or preferences. The book’s title is Roadmap to Holland, and it’s about motherhood, so you might imagine windmills, or tulips, or roadmaps, or even babies.
From what I know, and what I’ve read and heard, it’s very unusual for an author to have a say in cover development. I took the email as another sign of how terrific my editor is. But I also had nothing more that the obvious suggestions for cover art. (I’m still finishing up revisions on the manuscript, and even thinking about the words becoming a real book requires a leap of faith). My only request: if they chose to put a baby on the cover, could it be a baby with Down syndrome?
They had the meeting, and I received another email asking if I had any photos of Avery as a newborn or an infant. My heart sank. I was almost certain that we did not. The early weeks of the babies’ lives are a blur of tangled wires and tubes and gauze. Avery came home on a monitor; a short while later, Bennett returned to the PICU for surgery. Photographs were the last thing on my mind, then.
I wish it weren’t so. I wish I had a stack of photos of newborns, and another of chubby, healthy infants. Our photos begin at about five months, which was when our lives began to untangle. I don’t know what the lesson here is: other than to say we all did the best we could.