dc in (a LOT of) pictures, part two

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Yesterday, you all were kind enough to indulge me as I posted like a thousand pictures of our trip to DC. It kind of reminded me of that time that I had to sit through a slide show of an uncle’s trip to God knows where, but that was totally different because A) The slide projector (yes, I’m that old, shut up) got stuck and we had to stay in our spots on the floor while the grown-ups argued about how to fix it B) My uncle smelled vaguely of moth balls C) He didn’t say anything at all about peeing in the White House, which would have made it FAR more entertaining and D) After C do we really need a D?

Anyway, I’m grateful that you stuck it out.

So while rambling on yesterday, I mentioned that something happened at the Lincoln Memorial that I was going to share with you today. Which is why y’all are here, right? Cause the suspense is just killin’ ya? Yeah, I thought not. But nonetheless, you are here, so we might as well make the best of it. Let’s start with some background.

Nearly four years ago, I wrote the following –

When we initially had Brooke evaluated, it was by a very well-respected doctor at a well-regarded facility that is associated with one of the most highly renowned hospitals in the nation. When the doctor first delivered the news of her diagnosis, Luau and I were reeling, as any parents would be. As we fought to regain our balance, we asked whatever questions we could manage. Some of them were practical. Some of them were theoretical. All of them were born of the shock, confusion and terror that comes with hearing that your three year-old daughter has autism.

Luau asked the doctor, “What does this mean down the line? What does this mean as she gets older – let’s say at ten? At eighteen? What will her life look like? What does this mean for her as an adult?”

The answer to all of those questions should have been, MUST have been, “I understand your concern and your desire to prognosticate; but I have no way to tell you what she will be like at any of those points in her life. There are myriad strategies and therapies to employ. There are endless variables. There is no way that I could possibly look at an untreated autistic three year-old and tell you what she will be like as an adult, no more than I could look at her older sister and tell you what she will likely do for a living.”

Luau’s questions were as completely understandable as they were totally unanswerable.

However, the well-respected doctor in the well-regarded clinic attached to the well renowned hospital looked at my husband and said the following,

“She will likely live a very solitary life. She will not be comfortable around people and will most likely live alone.”

How dare she? Let me say that again. HOW DARE SHE? Which document on her wall came with a crystal ball?

I knew in my gut that she was dead wrong. I knew from the moment she said it that it was NOT the Brooke that I knew that she was talking about. My baby loves people. She craves social interaction and her desire for it couldn’t be more obvious to anyone who is looking for it.

Back then she had absolutely no tools to interact appropriately; but I’ll be damned if she wasn’t trying. She would say half a word and then eagerly wait for us to fill in the other half. THAT was Brooke’s dialogue. From the very beginning, she was trying to reach out.

Read the full post HERE

My girl has ALWAYS been social. She’s just been HER version of social. Which is very different than the rest of the world’s version of social. And since the world expects and demands its own version, we’ve done everything in our power to give her to tools to interact with it.

But because we’re her family and we love her so damned much exactly as she is, we’ve also adapted our version of social to hers. Partly because she deserves a place where she doesn’t feel like she has to contort herself to connect with those around her, and partly because, as it turns out, her version of social is really kind of fun. And by kind of, I mean a lot.

So in that vein, we tend to play some pretty silly looking games. And sometimes – OK, often – we play them in public. And sometimes – er … um, once – Brooke and Luau even played one of her favorites high atop the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC.

In this particular game, the object is to catch the other person’s tongue with your hand. Yup, it’s kinda gross. But more importantly, it’s kinda fun. And even more importantly, it’s not just kinda, but totally Brooke.

So here goes …

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Of all the sights we saw in DC, and all of those that I managed to capture through my camera’s lens, my husband fathering our sweet girl as he always does – with love and respect and a deliciously unself-conscious enjoyment of his time with her – might well be my very favorite.

Oh, and the best part of the game?

Everybody wins every time. 🙂

34 thoughts on “dc in (a LOT of) pictures, part two

  1. I love it! And I couldn’t agree more. Brooke is a delightful version of social and you definitely captured it!

    Love you,
    Mom

  2. Love this; what sheer love and joy are captured in this picture. No tongues, maybe, but love and joy. 🙂

  3. “with love and respect and a deliciously unself-conscious enjoyment of his time with her”

    that is the stuff good fathers are made of. Love this. Love those photos. Love you guys.

  4. I loved every single picture and I love these even more. I love that even in these pictures you explained to me what I am doing…creating social with my own daughter in her own way without really knowing I was doing it. I just thought…well, no matter what I thought. Thanks for sharing. You have taught me yet again, and your family is beautiful. Thanks for being you and being generous with your pictures and open with your life.

  5. These pictures are even better than yesterdays! Thanks for sharing this moment of family bliss, I love your blog, bless your family!

  6. Awesome photos. I think about the “alone” and “isolated” stuff alot. Even though my kid likes to alone SOMETIMES, it is NOT all of the time, and he really likes other people. Maybe to a REALLY extrovert, he leads an alone life, but he is with people and enjoys it (and people enjoy him).

    Great photos of Daddy BTW.

  7. That excerpt from your previous post is so right on. It should be required reading for doctors and parents. And the photos from the memorial? Fabulous. Brooke has herself an excellent team. 🙂

  8. I love seeing my husband engage my sons. He gives of himself differently to each. Each needs/wants him differently. But every single time he gives of himself completely – no matter where we are. Yay for un-self-conscious enjoyment!!!

  9. LOVE picture 2 with her arm on his back/shoulder and the two of them laughing together.

    LOVE LOVE her reaching out to his mouth as she sticks out her own tongue, willing his out of his mouth.

    LOVE LOVE LOVE that you had this moment as a mom; Brooke had this moment as a child; Luau had this moment as a dad. (and they were moments as a family, not specifically a “family of a child with special needs”)

  10. I love these pictures! I loved the others as well. The expressions on Luau and Brooke’s faces are priceless Luau is a wonderful Dad.

  11. Love it….love it….love it! Just like I love the unabanndoned silliness that goes on between my girl and her Daddy! I have to remember to grab the camera more often! She so much wants to interact with everyone but we are still the Only ones that get it right now. She is starting to make contact with peers… She actually walks up to them and puts her hand out to touch them and get their attention. So cool to see!!

  12. Loving all the pictures so keep them coming. And I remember slide shows too so you can’t be old or that would mean I am too.

  13. So when you’re not working at your job, writing your blog, being an incredible mom and advocate, selecting adorable clothes for your daughters, are you ALSO a professional photographer?!? These pictures capture the essence of love.

  14. “We love her so much, exactly as she is…..”
    And that is what it’s all about… You said it,and you live it, and she shows it.
    Love you,
    Dad

  15. B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L father/daughter pics!!!

    also, i find it funny that you think we indulge you and your photos. quite funny. i wish you could see my face when you mention photos in the title. i’m all, “ohhh, pictures!!”. the intimacy of your posts makes me feel like you and yours are close friends, close friends whom I never get to see. the photos are always appreciated.

  16. Love!!!! No other words but LOVE!!!

    I am sure that you have already thought of this, but an idea might be to take the photographs that you just posted and make each one into a wrap canvas. You could then display them together(as a group)on a wall. My sister would be much better at advising how to do this and how you might go about it. The wrap canvas really makes the photograph a piece of art. It is just a thought, but it would be a beautiful way to display this moment of Brooke and Luau together. Just wanted to pass on a Father’s Day gift idea. Again, I am sure that you had already thought of doing something like this. My sister’s web-site is http://www.sflphotography.com
    As always thank you for sharing you journey so openly and honestly, and I love the pictures!

  17. I never understood the people that thought My David would be robot like with no emotion or not want to play with other people. He has always been very loving, to the point of trying to go home with neighbors when he was 2. He always wants to play with other kids but he’s still learning what is okay to talk about (poop talk is quite common) and still learning about how to approach people he doesn’t know. I was recently told and witnessed that everybody at My David’s school loves him, he’s still learning some social rules, for example on that day he wanted us to take some kids from school home with us and I had to explain that their parents would be upset and think that we stole them so we couldn’t do that.
    I love the pictures, we have played the catch the tongue game too! So glad you shared them with everybody didn’t feel at all like being forced to look at old vacation photos.

  18. Ug! We went through that as well. A doctor even offered to write me a prescription for valium–for ME! This was in place of getting me services for the boys instead. I don’t know what these health professionals are thinking–wait, they aren’t thinking. They are just idiots. Well, not all, but I just so remember that. It likely will never leave me, or the feelings it gave me. Love the pictures–they are great!

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