round and round


A circle is the reflection of eternity. It has no beginning and it has no end – and if you put several circles over each other, then you get a spiral.

~ Maynard James Keenan

You spin me right round baby right round like a record baby right round round round.

~ Dead or Alive, You spin me round (like a record)


The four of us sat in the grass at the Farmer’s Festival, waiting for our turn on the Hay Ride. Brooke was perched in the nest of my crossed legs, looking out into the distance. She looked very serious.

“She was crying,” she said out of nowhere. Her little brow was wrinkled into her go-to expression of nearly cartoonish concern. “And she fell out of the bed!”

“Who was crying, honey?” I asked.

“The girl,” she said. “She was crying.”

“Oh, OK, baby. Why was she crying?”

“She fell out of the bed.”

I searched my brain for a script that would offer some context, but I came up dry. This ‘conversation’ appeared to be novel; or at least it was new to me.

“Who fell out of the bed, honey?” I asked.

“The girl did.”

“Oh, yes. I see. Who is the girl honey? What’s her name?”

I looked around the festival grounds, wondering if I might be missing something right in front of me.


“Ah, yes, of course. She.”

We sat quietly for a moment. I closed my eyes and kissed the top of her head lightly. If only I could crawl inside there.

“She was crying,” she said again, perhaps hoping this time I might understand. “And she fell out of the bed.”

For the life of me I didn’t know what response she was looking for.

I pressed on.

“Was she crying so hard that she fell out of the bed, honey? Or did she START to cry BECAUSE she fell out of the bed?”

I knew I’d used too many words. I knew the concept was confusing. But to my delight, she answered anyway.

“She cried so hard that she fell out of the bed.”

A glimmer of hope!

“Oh! OK. So WHY was she crying so hard, honey?” I asked. “What MADE her cry?”

“BECAUSE she fell out of the bed.”

Painted into yet another corner, I sighed quietly and nuzzled my nose into her hair. I wrapped my arms around her and gently squeezed.

“Well, I hope she’ll be all right, sweetheart,” I said wistfully. “I hope she’ll be all right.”


19 thoughts on “round and round

  1. I’ve been in those circular conversations too. I know them well. Sometimes I’ll ask Charlotte if she’s telling me about a dream, or something she saw on TV. If it’s one of those things (or a book) she’ll (usually) tell me. If she doesn’t respond, I think it’s just stuff she’s imagining in her head. Sometimes I’ll ask her if she’s making it up, and she will say yes.

    I often wonder when I get no response to any of those prompts, if it’s something she’s remembering from long ago.

  2. The circles–yes, we’ve been here too. Just the other day in fact. The Roc gets quite distressed when I cannot figure out what he is talking about. Makes my heart break a little.

  3. And you KNOW that they’re trying to process something- trying to figure something out. We often have these “delayed” coversations where she’s been pondering it in her own head for a while and then wants to work it out with me, but can’t find the words, so pulls fragments that don’t make connected sense. My heart breaks when that happens, but it breaks even more when she gives up and says “Never mind”.

  4. Kissing her little head, and the extra hug, that will help her find her way. Your love and your “gut” are all you need to help her.
    Love you,

  5. I’ve had that conversation so many times. Sometimes I lead on with “and then she _________”. Sometimes she stops, other times she just keeps crying. As long as we’re talking about crying and not actually crying, I figure it’s external. Something is triggering a memory of fantasy/reality. But I’m excited that she’s sharing her story (whoever it was).

  6. You took the words right out of my mouth . . .”If only I could crawl inside there.” I feel that way so often with my grandson who has autism. If I could only know what he’s thinking.

  7. She’ll be all right and so will you. My son used to come out with random, yet deeply thought statements like your daughter’s all the time. Drove me crazy- I knew there was fullness of thought, of feeling – so much going on in that brain of his- but I didn’t know how to access it, how to get him to communicate it, could never find the key.

    But over the years a beautiful mind has unfolded, and you know what- it’s all right. Hang in there.

  8. Isn’t it amazing how you know it’s too many words as they are coming out. Sometimes it’s just so hard to put it in a smaller package! This happened with one of my big kids last week. He looked toward me, annoyed, and so I said, “Sorry. Too much. Let me try again.” He said, “Du-uh!” Gotta love when the neurotypical teenager appears in the middle of those moments!

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