safe

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I know the text is a little small. In case you can’t see it, this is what it says — 

“To my friends who feel guilty for shutting down the news, turning off the Internet and spending time with their loved ones – To those who think that they need to immerse themselves in each and every story to honor the victims of Friday’s atrocity – I say this: There is no shame in turning inward and taking care of the ones that you love. (And that includes you.) And, if I may be so bold, I think that creating memories and fostering joy among families might be the very best way of all to honor the fallen. This was us yesterday. Kind of bummed that we already made the Christmas card. This would have been a shoo-in. Take care, my friends.”

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That was, indeed how we spent our Sunday afternoon. You will notice, among other things, I’m sure, that Katie is wearing a t-shirt while the rest of us are a little more appropriately attired for ice-skating. But, you see, Katie is the only one among us who actually DOES in fact ice skate. So, while we puttered around the rink like puppies on linoleum, she worked up a sweat spinning and jumping and, well, actually ice skating.
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I tried to convince Brooke that her sister would be the best guide on the ice. “Katie is a really good skater, baby. She can skate backwards, so you can hold her hands and go forward!”
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Katie was eager to take her sister onto the ice. This is her world, after all – the place where she is most comfortable, the place where she is confident when everyone else around her is hanging onto the boards for dear life.
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So I could have put up this picture and made you believe that it all went this way …
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But alas, the sister skate lasted about as long as this video ..
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Brooke wanted Mama. Despite all evidence to the contrary, she was convinced that she was safe with me. Even when I took us both down, she was undaunted. I suppose she was heartened by the fact that when I fell I managed to pull her on top of me. Seems that it was actually sort of funny to land on Mama.
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Nonetheless, I tried to convince her to take a lap with her sister. Katie was feeling the sting of rejection and I wanted Brooke to understand how good Katie was at this — to make her feel as helpful as she was trying to be.
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Nope.
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“I want my Mama,” she said.
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When my lower back started to scream, I asked if maybe she’d like to take a lap with Daddy. “Just one time, baby, while Mama rests for a sec.”
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Nope.
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“I would stay with YOU,” she said.
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I couldn’t help but smile. This kid, who for so long seemed to be an island, was telling me, in no uncertain terms, that she felt safe with me. And really, that’s all I’ve wanted — in all those moments when anxiety erupted and spewed like molten lava – when the demons grew too large to contain; when fear overtook her and that tiny body trembled with a fear that no word nor deed nor logic could assuage; when school, the world, our damned kitchen became too overwhelming to manage — all I wanted was to be able to make my girl feel safe. And, by God, this weekend, wasn’t that what we ALL wanted? To make our babies, whether they be two or forty-two, feel safe?
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“You want to stay with me, huh?” I asked.
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“I do,” she said.
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My back burned and my feet ached, but my girl wanted to skate. With ME.
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So we took another lap. And then another. And as we picked up speed into the turn, she said the words that would do me in.
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“Because you love me.”
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“Oh, baby,” I said as we glided together around the corner, “you have no idea.”
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Ed note: Looking for a way to help the families of Newtown? Click HERE for information. 

24 thoughts on “safe

  1. One thing I love about my son’s placement is that he gets to do all kinds of things that I’m physically unable to do – such as rock climbing, abseilling, extreme sports (white-water rafting etc), horseriding, running and so many more things that I can’t think of right now.

    Having Brooke wanting to stay with YOU though… that must be such a wonderful feeling. I cried the first time my son gave me a hug.

      • Abseilling is basically scooting down the side of a cliff or a building attached to a rope. He’s also done bungee jumping (in which somebody jumps off a bridge attached to a safety harness and a strong piece of elastic).

        I wouldn’t mind trying those things – but my irrational fear of heights prevents it!

      • He gets to go on these adventure weekends with other autistic children. He’s always the first to want to do $activity again – and the more white-knucke the better 😀

      • What a fabulous program! And it’s interesting, for all of her regular-world anxiety, Brooke LOVES amusement park rides. Speed, spinning, all of it. They are wonders to behold, our kiddos. 😉

  2. It’s the one true gift we can give our babies, the feeling of being safe! The best gift they give us is when they show us they know it! Great post….. As usual!

  3. The BEST feeling in the world. No doubt! Even with a burning back and achy feet…must’ve been sooooo good! I know when my Cymbie crawls in my lap, and puts her head on my shoulder, the world could fall down around us, and I wouldn’t even notice.

  4. And that knowledge of your love will be the foundation of her armour of self-confidence in the world. So glad she knows love is there…

  5. Hey no fair…no tissue warning!! So awesome that she can tell you you make her feel safe! I always tll my girl when the anxiety wells up…” I am right here..mommy is always right here….you’re ok baby!” and so far she can only repeat back “you’re ok baby” …..but I am pretty sure that’s her way of telling me she gets it! Just love my girl so much it hurts…I hope she gets that!!!!

    • That’s EXACTLY how we started! To a tee. Brooke would say, “Mama’s here, baby. It’s okay, Mama’s here.”. Yes, EXACTLY.

  6. You’re going to miss these days…..It all goes too fast…. I promise, You’re going to miss those days….
    I miss them with you…always have.
    Love you,
    Dad

  7. To Missus Tribble and Jess, my son is the same way. Afraid of cats!!!! but give him a roller coaster and a trip to the mall and he’s all in. Amazing how our children help us with our fears also.

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