For the life of me, I don’t know what to do.
I was so excited to post something this morning. Something that, until last night, was nothing but a testament to progress and hope and all that my girl is doing, can do, will do.
It was a video from the Bat Mitzvah we attended this weekend.
It was my baby girl dancing along with a crowd of kids. It was the one that made me type this in a moment of unbridled pride and joy on Saturday night.
Oh my god, y’all. The bat mitzvah girl is teaching all the kids a dance while the adults are in cocktail hour. It’s going to be a surprise for the adults once the party starts, flash mob style. Brooke is RIGHT IN THERE dancing. She may be a few beats behind, but she is in all her glory being part of the group. This is such a huge gift. I am so overwhelmed with joy for my girl. She’s DOING IT. Like really really DOING IT.
But then last night, Luau and I watched another part of the video. The one where the kids actually performed their dance for the crowd. The one that somehow looked different than the first. Very, very different.
The one that hurt like hell to watch.
The one that forced us to see – to really see – the sword’s other edge. The one that sucked the air out of the room – that left us no longer reveling in the joy of her participation, but simmering in the painful awareness of just how much that participation cost – and costs her every day. The one that showed her differences in such stark relief as to leave us with no choice but to see – to really see – just how hard this road is for her.
The one that broke us.
After watching the second video last night, I went into Brooke’s room as she slept. I curled my body around hers, just as we had done in the hotel room over the weekend. I just needed to be close to her. I needed in some way to prove to myself that I could do something. That I could protect her. I can’t, of course. And isn’t that what always hurts the most?
There’s a lot to tell you about the Bat Mitzvah. About Brooke’s part in it …
We are in North Carolina this weekend for my little cousin’s Bat Mitzvah. After reading her Torah portion today, the Bat Mitzvah girl stood before the congregation and thanked Brooke. Because of her and her autism, she said, she had chosen to help teach a drama class for kids with special needs as her mitzvah project. All kids, she said she’d learned, deserved the chance to do something they love. #Hope
About the family’s incredible efforts from the first moment to the last to make us feel welcome and our girl included.
About my delicious cousins, who indulged Brooke’s insatiable desire to dance, and who joined her on the floor (literally) without a hint of self-consciousness or judgement.
About the teenage girls who miraculously agreed to play follow the leader – who didn’t flinch when Brooke led them in Ring Around the Rosy …
Or when she asked them to do this …
Or even this. I mean, seriously …
About my Katie. My God, my Katie. About whose grace and poise and emergent maturity I could write for days …
But today, I’m going to keep it to myself.
To process it.
To protect it.
As I would my girl.
If somehow I could.