Oh, my friends, I have so much that I want to tell you. I have seventeen posts rattling around in my head and forty minutes in which to write them all.
I want to tell you about the walk yesterday. About how incredibly, ludicrously proud I am of both of my girls. I want to tell you about this …
And I want to tell you how every time I told her yesterday how proud I was of her, she responded, “I’m proud of you too.”
And I want to tell you that no matter how many times I watch this, I still can’t believe it’s my girl.
And I want to tell you that Katie finally put her foot down last night and said, “Mama, as nice as it is, I’d really like you to stop telling me how proud you were of me today. It’s starting to get awkward,” and how I said, “I can’t go cold-turkey, but I’ll agree to say it only one more time tonight and I’ll save it til bedtime, deal?” and how it was a lot harder than I thought to keep up my end of the bargain.
I want to tell you that I am so heartened by the walk each and every year. That even in the pouring rain (and for the love of God, why does it rain EVERY year?), fifteen thousand people turned up for our families. I want to tell you that even though it’s hard to go back year after year, it’s also beautiful. Because we see friends who are family and we sneak in hugs and love as we chase our kids and we have moments of connection that tide us over until the next time.
The kids manning the table at the SenseAbility Gym booth. Well, sorta.
I want to tell you about my sweet Rhema, and how I told her that I’ve missed her and asked her if I could sit with her and she responded by ever so gently touching her cheek to mine and the tenderness and the raw, unfiltered connection of the moment took my breath away and how I later texted Jeneil to say this …
I want to tell you how my fears about the walk were unfounded, and how grateful I am to Kelley and the Boston team for that. I want to tell you that they made the walk a celebration of community, a place to gather resources, a place to connect. A place where newly diagnosed families are given links to blogs written by autistic people along with community resources.
A place where there was no judgement.
I want to tell you that Brooke and I sat in the grandstands for the walk itself because the rain was coming down hard and after managing the introduction and the stage and the crowds and the rain, she was done. I want to tell you that we sat there without guilt because Mama’s finally getting it.
Thank you, Uno’s!
And I want to tell you about Saturday. About how we went to Edaville with Grammy and Grandpa DD and rode the train and the rides and the ponies and even went fishing with a piece of hot dog on a line. I want to tell you how in the middle of the day, my girl lost her stuffing and how it broke my heart because it was one of those times when every trick I had was falling flat and I had to realize that it wasn’t going to be up to me to bring her back; it was, as it always is, all on her. And I want to tell you how we sat there in the grass beneath the ferris wheel and my girl cried and cried and cried and it was all I could do not to cry with her as I rocked her in my arms and finally, out of any and all other options, simply said, “I’m here.”
I want to tell you how she clawed her way back. How she managed to find her calm and even began to laugh and how we then laughed together as much as she’d cried and with each peal of laughter we were cleansed. And I want to tell you that as we left that park, she said, completely unprompted, “I had a GREAT time at Edaville!”
And I want to tell you how much I learned in that moment, and how awestruck I am, again, by my kid. Because she takes these awful moments and she folds them into her memories until they are no longer front and center, but just bit parts of the whole. Tucked beneath the pony rides and the Scrambler with Daddy and the fishing and the train ride and all of it … and even though it’s still there, it’s not the part that she chooses to focus on.
I want to tell you how amazing I think that is.
And there’s more, so much more that I want to tell you, but work beckons, so I’ll have to wrap it up here … here, in this overwhelmingly beautiful place filled with pride and joy and the sweetest, most meaningful connections.
This place where, while acknowledging the rest, I choose to focus.
Have a great day, my friends.