I have too much to write. Too many thoughts hurdling off in wildly different directions in my head.
Too much urgency. Mr. President, PLEASE. Anything. Dye the damn dog blue. At this point I’ll take it. Just a sign. PLEASE, sir, we need this.
Too much angst. Budgets slashed and tensions rising. Please, school districts, do the right thing. If not because it is a community’s moral responsibility to care for its most vulnerable citizens then simply for the dollars and cents. If you cut special education resources too close to the bone this year, what happens in 2013 and 2014? What happens is that you pay out exponentially whatever monies you thought you’d saved because our kids have fallen so much farther behind and fulfilling your legal obligation to provide a Free and Appropriate Public Education for ALL students is ever more difficult because the needs of our kids have become ever greater because you thought you could get by on a shoestring but it simply doesn’t work that way. Yes, I know that was a run on sentence. No, I don’t care.
Too much autism. The lead-up to April’s awareness blitz, always a double-edged sword for those of us whose lives are steeped in autism. Friends sending articles, “Hey, Jess. Did you see this?’ Yes I see it every day. But thank you. By God, THANK YOU for seeing it too.
Too many stories. An incredible opportunity that fell into my lap yesterday. A chance to speak to the next generation of educators. To talk to them about loving a child with autism and what that means in our family. What it HAS TO mean for them.
The funny and wondrous things that came out of my girls’ mouths this weekend. Brooke telling me that “Jesus is watering the flowers and the flowers are watering Jesus” or Luau and I overhearing Katie asking, “Um, Brooke? What did you wipe with?”
But as always, time is short. The clock ticks ominously over my head and I needed to be in the shower ten minutes ago. The rest of the week is full to bursting with activity – Brooke’s birthday and party, Katie’s autism awareness mural painting and pizza party – their mama doing her best impression of a chicken with its head cut off.
And in the middle of all of it, like a crocus bursting through the snow, there are moments of stunning PROGRESS. Of undeniable HOPE that simply must be shared.
This one was an e-mail. Not about Brooke, not for Brooke, but BY Brooke. A child whose sole interactions not so long ago consisted of half-word utterances designed to illicit a response. Constantly frustrated, pleading for her partner to finish the word. Sum total, that was her ‘conversation’. A child who would not hold a crayon to draw. A child for whom reading (or writing) was simply unimaginable.
Last night, I showed her an e-mail that I’d gotten from an inclusion specialist at her school who is out on maternity leave. Attached was a picture of her gorgeous baby girl – all ripe cheeks and big, beautiful eyes. I asked Brooke if she’d like to write something back to her. Without a word, she grabbed my laptop and perched it on her legs. Her hands hovered over the keys, her little pointers wiggling with anticipation.
I told her that she would need to say, “Hi, it’s Brooke,” so that Ms S would know that it was her. Her eye brows knitted together as she said, “I would do it MY way.” My heart soared. Her way. There’s nothing I’d like better, baby.
And then she began to type. It took her nearly twenty minutes. Bedtime was overdue. I didn’t have the heart to make her stop.
She paused in the middle to ask me a question. “Is the baby a girl or a boy?” I don’t have to tell you how big this is. I know I don’t. You’ll see why she asked. You’ll see why I was nearly jumping out of my skin. And you’ll see why giving up is never an option. Progress happens. Sometimes when you least expect it. Sometimes, just when it feels like the snow will never melt and the Spring will never come, that insistent little crocus comes up underfoot.
Hi it’s me Princess Brooke YOU ARE SO CUTE I LOVE YOUR DOTTER