what i would tell you


Ed note: What follows is barely English. I’m pretty sure it’s essentially a series of very long, run-on sentences (with a few fragments thrown in for fun). There’s also a whole lot of random punctuation – a comma here, a hyphen or two there. If I had the time, I’d edit it. But I don’t. Which is kind of the point. Good luck, my friends.


I have so much to tell you. If only I had the time.

If I had the time, I would tell you about Brooke’s latest breakthrough – about how she was crying at CVS the other night because I told her that we couldn’t buy a bag of goldfish (because we had JUST come from dinner and we were on our way home for dessert, if you must know) and how she said – or kinda screamed, but whatever – through her tears, “I feel mad about it!”


And I’d tell you about how weird it feels to be happy that your kid – who is in tears – just told you she feels mad. Well, maybe not happy as much as proud, but either way, it’s still weird.

If I had the time, I would tell you about the awards ceremony that I’m running, co-hosting, emceeing and otherwise losing my stuffing over this Thursday night to honor seventy-five teachers, administrators and staff members in our school district who have gone above and beyond the call of duty this year to impact the lives of special needs kids.

And about how you can’t give me a hard time for doing it because I committed to it last year, so despite my best efforts to PULL BACK, this one was non-negotiable.

If I had time, I would tell you about how it’s been a nightmare of logistical headaches and misunderstandings and hurt feelings and blatantly disregarded instructions and hundreds upon hundreds of e-mails back and forth and back and forth and Good Lord, how many times is the phrase, ‘No good deed goes unpunished’ going to go through my head before this is done?

And about how I know it’s going to be wonderful because last year was wonderful and because these teachers really, really deserve the recognition but how I really, really just can’t do this anymore and how I’m kinda wishing the time away so that I can be past this and how that feels awful because, well – please see the first part of this run-on sentence about how the nominees really, really deserve to be recognized.

If I had the time, I would tell you about how Brooke has started using, “Sort of” and “If you don’t mind” ALL THE TIME and how dang cute it is when she says either of them.

If I had the time, I would tell you how we went to see my Grandma this weekend, and how blessed I feel that the girls have their great-grandmother in their lives. Someday I’ll tell you how I didn’t meet her until I was older than both of my girls are now, and how much I therefore cherish seeing her with them at this age – and how much they each adore her in their own way.

If I had the time, I’d tell you about how my aunt – a long since retired kindergarten teacher – goes out of her way to not just indulge, but to include my girl. How she doesn’t get remotely ruffled when she uses her pretty, decorative hand towels for things pretty, decorative hand towels should never be used for, or how, when she smushes her palms flat into the just-served cheeseburgers she says, still smiling, ‘You know, I thought that looked pretty irresistible too.” Or how her son – my cousin – doesn’t tell anyone when he sees Brooke eating the fruit out of the serving dish (off of the serving spoon.)

If I had time, I’d tell you how Katie pointed out a man to me at the pool the other day and said, “That guy’s not very nice,” and went on to tell me that he had been “swinging his kid around in the pool even though it was too crowded and then the kid kicked Daddy in the head and me in the neck which wasn’t exactly a surprise cause there was like no room,” and how when “I said, “OW!” the guy didn’t say anything” and how when “we moved away from him Daddy muttered ‘jackass’ but don’t tell him I heard cause he thought he was being really quiet.”

If I had the time, I’d tell you about another moment at the pool, when a woman I barely know cornered me in conversation and wanted to chat about how she has the summer off and how she’s staying home with her kids for the summer and how she’s ‘really just not sure that it’s her thing’ and how she ‘might just go crazy hanging out by the pool all day’ and how I came THIS CLOSE to pointing out to her just what a God-awful problem that must be and holy hell, ARE YOU SERIOUSLY talking to me about this? (But I didn’t cause I knew it would sound judgmental and really, it wasn’t her fault that I was seethingly jealous; but I was.)

If I had the time, I’d tell you about the meal we had on Saturday night. About how we went to a NEW place and how Brooke sat CALMLY and ATE HER FOOD – like ALMOST ALL OF HER FOOD – and how she TRIED SOMETHING NEW and ATE THAT TOO and how Katie and Brooke were SHARING food back and forth and how Luau looked at me halfway through dinner and said, “Who IS this family?” and how we laughed when I shushed him so as not to break the spell.

If I had the time, I would tell you about how I’m really not worried about the results of the EEG, but how not being worried worries me, because when I say, “I just don’t think it’s seizure activity because she really appears to remain lucid” it just sounds so damn hauntingly similar to, “I just know she’s not autistic because she talks, for heaven’s sake” and how I know that I know just slightly more about epilepsy now than I did about autism then, and how that all stays somewhere in the back of my mind and in the depths of my gut and how while I keep saying I’m not worried, I know that you know that I’m lying to both of us.

And above all, if I had the time, I’d tell you again how grateful I am for you. For all of you. For your prayers for my girl and your notes and your comments and your constant, unwavering love and support of my family.

For getting why it was such a big deal the other day when Brooke said that she only “sort of” had fun at the pool because “well, it was a little crowded” and for understanding just how much that one interaction represents.

Yeah, that’s what I’d tell you.

If I had the time.

37 thoughts on “what i would tell you

  1. Oh my goodness, it’s a shame you didn’t have the time to tell us any od that! But, since you’re pressed for time, I’ll simply say…WOW. And tell you how much you are loved. Carry on with your busy self! ๐Ÿ˜‰ xo

  2. That’s a lot of stuff packed into one post! Oh how I LOVE that she told you she was mad!!! Yay!!! Huge, massive stuff in this one Jess! So good! (Well, not the super busy can’t get your breath part, but your girl–awesome!)

  3. So many huge leaps in this post. Way to go Brooke. Jess I know you don’t really know me but that is why you should take what I am going to say well write next seriously- cuz I don’t know you and therefore I am not obligated to say something nice. (talk about a run-on sentence.) You are not only a wonderful mother and wife, you are an amazing person. I know how stress and worried you must be, but I also know that whatever the good Lord up above decides to throw your way- and granted it seems like alot lately- I know you will find the strength to deal with it all. And you will do it with the same grace that you seem to do everything with.

  4. It always amazes me how you can write such an incredible post without the time to write it. You have so much going on, and you give every inch of yourself to your family and to all of us. I hope soon you get the time to breathe.
    (and about the being happy that Brooke was mad? My friends and I were just talking about that. We seem to live in a constant state of being proud and scared at the same time. The nature of the beast, I guess…)

  5. You are one busy lady!! I know exactly how you feel about the reception to honor the teachers/staff….a wonderfully moving event that we used to do and was absolutely one of my fav events through the years. It is a good thing! Hang in there and take it all day by day….you seem to be enjoying the little triumphs and that is important.
    Love to all.

  6. It read beautifully, as always Jess! Thank you for sharing all of those great stories! I’m sure the event will turn out great. You are the best! I look forward ti reading your posts each morning before i even get out of bed ๐Ÿ™‚

    have a great day!


  7. If I had time I would tell you that I try and lead with compassion (instead of my fear) on a daily basis and it was YOU that started me on this quest several months ago. If I had time I would tell you that I am not getting it right all the time, but damned if I am not getting it. If I had time I would tell you that I reached out to this guy on FB and asked him to not use the “R” word ever so politely, to which he replied “stay off my page bitch” and I didn’t get angry, scared, hell yes and I temporarily blocked him until I thought he’s in Lousianna and I doubt he’s gonna drive to CT to find lil ole me!
    If I had time I would tell you that my kid is doing well, that he has made tremendous gains in the last year and I need to remember that when I get worried. If I had the time I would tell you that I am trying to stop being angry that my life didn’t turn out the way I wanted it, and with faith and trust in God all things are possible. If I had the time I would tell you that I live for run on sentences and really bad grammar, despite being raised by an english teacher/mom.
    If I had the time, I would say thank-you in the biggest possible way to YOU:) xo.

  8. I love your post! If I had the time. . . . So true! The craziness, the frustration, the rejoicing over what to anyone else would seem like a “so what?” interaction, being insanely happy your child ate something new, wondering who the “normal” family is when it’s really your own children behaving well, together, in public, and being proud/scared of progress and new things. . . . Oh my, I can relate so much to this! Thank you for your transparency.

  9. God, Jess, you are such a good writer! I totally get your feelings of pride/happiness when Brooke does something other parents just don’t understand as a source for pride — like when she tells you she’s mad and that’s why she’s crying or when she uses terms like “sort of.” (My favorite Zoe expression is “Seriously.”) I get so excited when Zoe lies to me or yells “NO!” when I tell her to do something she doesn’t want to do. When other parents complain about their kids giving them a hard time, I am so out of the loop. I just love when Zoe gives me “attitude.” And I love your writing.

    When you get the time (ha ha), tell us about when your book comes out.

  10. Love the snippets, like chocolates in a selection box, something new in each little morsel and some truly fantastic bites in amongst them all.
    Love the positive steps.
    We had a small one the other day that made us smile – I was saying “oh I hear a big green monster under the desk” and M came out from under the desk saying “Don’t be afraid, it’s only me” with a huge smile on his face. Huge….just huge! So yes, we understand when others just don’t/can’t get it, no fault of their own, how many of us understood before joining this ASD world.

  11. You are so awesome – even when you don’t have the time to be!! I can’t tell you how I look forward to your posts everyday, they make me so hopeful!! Thanks!!

  12. I love all of this, and fragments can be beautiful, as these all are, and they DO add up to beautiful post, even if it might not be the one you would have written if you “had the time” it’s the one that is, and that’s just fine, too. Lots of hugs and cheers, all around.

  13. Even in the craziest, busiest, stressful times…God gives you just enough blessings to carry you through. The good thing is that you see them and count them, so he will continue to bless you. Yay for Brooke and her breakthroughs! Hugs Mama…

  14. That’s all big stuff. It’s amazing how much gets crammed into each day. Thank God for all those little bright spots. Those kinds of things have such power and beauty.

    Good luck with your awards ceremony. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. DOAM
    Segue !!!!
    I Love It !!!
    I now feel like your sista from another Mother !
    I thought I was the only one . ; )

  16. I’m excited for your busy, crazy, moment-making days! Those teachers will remember that evening for the rest of their lives. I wish you lots of luck with it. And your girl…OMGoodness, I love hearing about those milestones of hers. She’s a-blooming, she is! Take a moment for yourself today. Deep breaths. It’s going to be fabulous!

  17. If I had the time, I would tell you that I watched Notting Hill for the gazillionth time this weekend and that I love the scene where Hugh Grant’s sister tells Julia Roberts’ character that she “has believed, and has believed for some time, that they could be best friends,” and then she says, “What do you think?” And Julia Roberts says, “Um…Lucky me!” And if I had the time, I would tell you that your words are so. damn. perfect. that it’s like you are in my head sometimes, and I’m pretty sure if I actually met you in person, I would be compelled to say, “I’ve believed, and I’ve believed for some time, that we could be best friends. What do you think?” ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Jess seriously – don’t make time for grammar and punctuation because really we don’t care about all that. Your post could be one long sentence in a never ending paragraph without any commas or periods and we would still devour every word of it and still LOVE it! Do like your Mama says and make time to breathe.

    Love to hear how Brooke is expressing her emotions! My son has only focused on communicating 2 emotions for a really long time – mad and sad. This weekend we encouraged him to explore happy and love. It was hysterical. I wish I had your gift for putting it into written word….thinking of you and sending you and your family love and prayers.

  19. Such awesome leaps! Y’all are doing a great job. You deserve a trophy or plaque or something to display to remind yourself.

  20. I have repeated Brooke’s phrase “sort of” and “well, it was kindof crowded” in my head numerous times since reading that post…. thinking how I can’t wait until my baby can say something like that! That is spectacular, and you are right, it is a blessing that we are a community that “gets it”. My baby (at age 4) is going through a somewhat defiant phase (God I hope it’s a phase) right now that I am equating to the “Terrible Two’s” (even though he is 4). He has been able to say “no” for a while now, but lately he is protesting to any and every thing he does not want to do (which lately has meant me having to carry a thrashing & noodle-y 50 pound child to various places he has refused to go)…while it can be very stressful in that moment, I am Praising God for the big picture, that he can say no, that he understands the context for saying no, and that he gets how to say it with extra emphasis when he REALLY means business!! It’s the small things….

  21. If I had the time I would tell you that I am rejoicing with you on all the wonderful positive things that have happened lately and that I pray you will get through the week unscathed and that I pray some calm for you…phew…if I had the time. hugs, gail

  22. I love absolutely everything! I know what you mean about “if you had time” but this post is beautiful just the way it is. You are an exceptional mom and your children are extraordinary. Do as your mom says “Breathe!” and good luck on Thursday!

  23. Thanks for finding the time! And here’s to summer – may the pool bring many more learning experiences and many more moments for Mama to feel proud:) Small miracles. Cheers!!!

  24. Donโ€™t have time either to respond to each wonderful thing right now!!! So Iโ€™ll just say…….Yes!…..Youโ€™re Right!………I hear Ya!….Glad For That!….Right On!……..Thatโ€™s Wonderful!……Same for Us!…….Thatโ€™s True………..& We Do Love You! Robin

  25. lol, wow, i feel like i just drank a red bull or something. i wish you weren’t so busy. i want to hear details!! and i think i may have fallen in love with ur aunt and cousin :/

    sounds like you’re on the bumpy part of this crazy ride ๐Ÿ˜‰ hold on tight, chica!!

  26. I’m in love with both your daughters! But you don’t have time to read any more, so that’s all I’ll say for now! ๐Ÿ™‚ Shari proofoftheplan.wordpress.com

  27. If you only had the time… I think that is what all moms say, especially the ones in this group ๐Ÿ™‚ So proud of Brooke and all the progress she has made! Your dedication has had alot to do with it; the little things you notice are amazing, aren’t they. My daughter Haley, age 6, has been saying “Know what?” about 10,000 times a day before she tells me something, and it makes me smile every time. She also says, “I got a good idea!” alot too :)Thank you for sharing, and making me smile

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