beautiful city

Out of the ruins and rubble

Out of the Smoke

Out of our night of struggle

Can we see a ray of hope?

One pale thin line reaching for the day


We can build a beautiful city

Yes we can

Yes we can

We can build a beautiful city

Not a city of angels, but we can build a city of man


We may not reach the ending

But we can start

Slowly but truly mending

Brick by brick, heart by heart

Now, even now

We’ll start learning how


We can build a beautiful city

Yes we can

Yes we can

We can build a beautiful city

Not a city of angels, but we can build a city of man


When your trust is all but shattered

When your faith is killed

You can give up bruised and battered

Or you can slowly start to build


A beautiful city

Yes we can

Yes we can

We can build a beautiful city

Not a city of angels, but finally a city of man


~ Beautiful City, a song from Godspell that took on an entirely new meaning for me this week


As you may recall, last week began in a pretty low place for our family. A place that led me to write, “It’s been the kind of week that I haven’t had since the one surrounding the day that I first heard the word autism. I’ve thought a lot this week about that day. It’s over five years ago now – but it’s been with me like it was yesterday. The panic, the guilt, the fear. The bathroom floor, the cold, hard, unforgiving walls. The retching over the toilet. The silent scream. The fist shaking at the sky. The “WHY MY GIRL?” The abject terror. It’s all with me this week.” (click HERE to read the post in its entirety.)

It was a place that led my husband to rant at God and ask, “How many Brookes do you torment with unyielding anxiety? What did she do to deserve her fate? I may not have walked the righteous path all of my life, but that gives you no right to punish Brooke, and in turn Jess and Katie. If you have a problem with me, then you should take it out on me, not them.” (click HERE to read that post in its entirety.)

But the week, as you now know, thankfully ended far differently than it began. It started with anguish, yet ended with indescribable joy. It ended with belief – in my girl, in this community, in the power of love and faith and generosity. It began in the rubble and it ended in hope.

The comments and e-mails that I received in response to yesterday’s post were delicious icing on an already perfect cake. (Yes, I know that was a really pathetic attempt at metaphor, so if you’d like we can go with ‘ice cream on top of an already perfect pie’, which makes more sense but doesn’t really have the same power because it’s not a familiar colloquialism like ‘icing on the cake’ and .. well, let’s move on, shall we?).

So many of you wrote that you were moved to tears by my girl’s story – our story – yesterday. And I was moved to tears by YOUR tears. Your investment in us, your belief in my girl, your celebration of our success are gifts far greater than I could ever dream. As I wrote on the Facebook page last night,

On Diary’s ‘About’ page, it has always said the following — “Because it is a sense of community that makes the good times sweeter for the sharing and the hard times more bearable for knowing that we’re not alone.” Today, as you have so often, you made the good times so much sweeter than I could have ever imagined. Thank you for sharing our joy these past few days. You can’t possibly know how much it means.

And then, as if to (oh, man, am I stuck revisiting that whole icing on the cake / ice cream on the pie debacle here or is there some way to gracefully ignore that it ever happened? Let’s pretend, shall we?) truly make the experience complete (yeah, I know, ‘truly make the experience complete’ seriously lacks art or imagination, but I’m running on fumes, people and we all agreed to abandon the cake / pie thing, right? Right.) Anyway ..

I began to hear from those inside the Godspell community. And as I read their messages I began to see my girl’s story in a whole different light.

I began to see within it people from all walks of life joining in and – brick by brick and heart by heart – building a city for my girl – for all of our children, for all of us. A city of love and light and compassion and hope. A city where people open their hearts to one another – differences be damned – and share their gifts. A city, not of angels, but of man.

The following are from Peggy Gordon, original cast member, co-creator and composer of one of my all time (and oft-quoted) favorite songs, By My Side; Nick Blaemire, the incredibly talented actor who went so far out of his way for us and Danny Goldstein, the director of the show.

I thank them for generously allowing me to share their words. But really, that’s just the beginning. I thank them for so much, but above all for opening their hearts, sharing their love and helping to create a whole different world – one brick, one heart at a time.


I’m so grateful I saw. I’m Peggy Gordon, original cast member, co-creator and composer of By My Side from Godspell. I’ve been involved, along with Steve Schwartz guiding this revival and it makes me so happy to hear that you had the exact experience we worked so hard both conceptually and actually to create during our “incarnation,” of the show and for future generations. I loved your daughter’s Jesus doll with Steve Nathan’s creative make-up, the heart on the forehead with tears under the eyes. So happy your daughter was able to enjoy the love and joy! I’m also very proud of this cast!



you are so awesome, and so is your beautiful daughter. i can’t thank YOU enough for bringing her to the show, and for reminding everyone in our company what true compassion, patience and love looks like. you have definitely affected this show for the better, and we’re all so thrilled that we got to meet you both, and that you two enjoyed the show!

hope to see you again soon, and thank you so much for the incredible kind words.

– nick


What a beautiful blog. I read it this morning with my sleeping daughter in my arms and wept.

They’ve all read it and were so moved. Thanks for letting us be a part of your amazing girl’s life.



16 thoughts on “beautiful city

  1. Ahh, I think you are begining to take from this experience exactly what I had hoped. Keep chewing. And let’s get the rest of the family to the show. Please take your husband (I am going with “husband” because I can never remember what I am allowed to call him here!). 🙂 XO

  2. That is so incredible but yet it’s not! You keep making our world smaller and smaller and our community closer and closer.

    What’s really incredible to me is that I gave birth to you. I am, once again, in awe of you, my daughter.

    Love you,

  3. I just caught up on the last few days – amazing, amazing stuff. Being a theater girl myself, I absolutely believe in its power. The power of song, the connection, the willing suspension of disbelief that connects itself not only from audience to actor, but sometimes the other way as well.

    The ability to experience Real Magic.

    This was Real Magic. On both sides of the stage. Well done, Mama.

  4. The highs and lows on this roller coaster. I’m so joyful and happy and again moved to eyes welled with tears. Broadway holds a very, VERY special place in my heart. For a long time it was what I wanted to do with my life. And this is why…because a show can do THIS. It reminds me of that magical world I loved so much for so long. Life let it get away, but I will always hold it in my heart. Thanks for reminding me how beautiful it can be. I hope some day that Cymbie will show an interest in theatre. And I hope too that she has the words to tell me how happy she is like your baby did in the video. That video is amazing. I cherish it as MY hope that some day MY girl will have the tools and the words to speak to me like that. Sometimes the process feels so slow. Thanks for bringing and spreading the joy and the hope…not just to us, but as it looks… to very one who crosses your family’s path. You are all very special people!

  5. meant to comment yesterday….i have been reading for a while now-someone sent me a link once and I have been here ever since. my daughter has rett syndrome. I hope one day to be able to take her to the theater, or on a trip, or anywhere really. you write beautifully and I have been moved to tears by many of your posts. I have a blog too and I know how difficult it can be to convey the beauty of those special moments. but you do it! and do it well. you are one hell of a mommy. thank you for sharing! Erica

  6. This community is so important, to make our world smaller and more manageable. This story is a wonderful reminder that the big world holds promise too. Jess touches new lives every day, and this time on the big stage. Proof that one person can do so much, and hope that I can be that one person too. I loved Luau’s video over at his blog, even as it brought up the tears again. So thrilled and happy for you all again.

  7. Amazing. Once again I have no words. It just reinforces my belief that we are ALL connected. In awe of the “butterfly effect” at work in such a positive way here. The lives you touch by the smallest (and the biggest) actions…

  8. Your daughter has a magic inside her that allows her to touch people (without needing to physically touch them). Thank you for touching our lives with your words and experiences.

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