July Theme: Fireworks (Sarah Dooley)

Even in the summer, I'm a teacher. Autism doesn't quit for the summer; luckily, neither do my kids.

But in the summer, sometimes our work looks a little bit different than it does during the school year. We work on accepting things that happen during summer. How to tolerate getting your skin wet long enough to figure out swimming is fun. How to withstand warm things touching your feet long enough to remember that you love jumping on the trampoline.

And how to survive the Fourth when you don't like fireworks.

One summer, this meant taping bubble wrap to the floor and stomping on it to simulate the noise. Playing with flashlights, lava lamps, and anything else we could think of to desensitize ourselves to the lights. Some of my kids love the chaos of the Fourth, but others are upset or even frightened by the whole ordeal. Fireworks seem like fun, but when you really think about it, they can be scary. An explosion of noise and color in an otherwise peaceful sky.

This is how book publicity feels to me.

In theory, it sounds pretty cool, right? You get to visit schools and libraries. You get to sit at those special-looking author tables in bookstores. You get to talk to reporters. You get to see your name in the paper. You get to speak at conferences. Teach classes. Stand up and say out loud, "I wrote a book, and I hope you read it."

To me, this is sort of like looking at a perfectly comforting, darkened sky and waiting for it to explode. And I never know what color the lights will be or how loud the sound will be or how my stomach is going to feel about the whole thing, until it's happening.

Luckily, I spend my summer with kids, and they are excellent teachers. They remind me to face things that might seem scary at first. They remind me that you can't jump without getting on the trampoline, and you can't swim without getting wet.

They remind me that most scary stuff turns out to be really, really fun. Like writing books. And becoming a teacher. And going to see the fireworks.


  1. Sarah -
    I just have to say that was just about perfect in every way!! Your students are lucky to have you and your spin on fireworks and writing just helped me feel a little bit brave right when I needed to. So thank you for all of that!

  2. I like how you said that - yes, it does take courage to get past our fears to get to the good stuff! Thanks, Sarah.

  3. What a truly beautiful post. Your kids are absolutely inspiring.

  4. What a great way to look at things, Sarah! Thank you.

  5. Love this post, Sarah! Those sound like some very smart kids.


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