typical sucks


{image is a photo of Brooke, sitting on the kitchen counter, covered in shaving cream, as you do.}

Ed note: I’m out of time, so the following is unedited. Godspeed. 

There was a time when I hoped that someday Brooke’s speech would become more colloquial, more typical-sounding, if you will. It was never one of my more fervent prayers, as I was far more concerned with her being able to communicate and to be understood than the mechanics of how she went about that, but still, wrapped up in prizing normalcy, as we’ve all been taught to do, I thought that it would be really nifty if she sounded, well, normal.

Over the years, of course, I began not only to see the folly of indistinguishability as a goal but also to realize just how incredible her unique way of using words really is. Now I relish the moments, increasingly frequent as they are, when she creates combinations of words that so beautifully, so poignantly, and so Brooke-ly make her point.

This day was too strong for me.

Good damn it. 

Thwart! (a tight, deep pressure hug)

I bumped my eye door. (hit her eyelid)

I need a break; there’s too of much here. 

My girl’s language is hers and now ours and my God, I wouldn’t wish it away or wish it to change for anything.

Last night, Katie was out at the lake with a friend for dinner. Brooke has a thing about Grace – we only say it when we’re all together. “We wouldn’t do Grace,” she said.

I explained to her that, as much as I understand that it’s an all or none whole family affair for her, it’s actually really important to me to say Grace before dinner whether we’re all there or not. To say the words that we have made our own over the years, hands clasped together in a moment of quiet, a moment of gratitude before we eat. A script that, like hers do for her, means a lot to me.

Thank you for the food we are about to receive and the precious gift of each other.


“No Grace,” she said.

I didn’t want to let this go. I wanted her to understand that sometimes we make concessions for those we love when something matters more to them than it discomfits us. That taking time out to express gratitude and to celebrate family is important.

I asked why she didn’t want to do it.

“Because Grace sucks,” she said.

And there it was.

My perfectly colloquial answer.

I tried not to register my shock as it only serves to encourage repetition and this particular colloquialism is definitely not one I’d like to encourage.

“Why does it suck?” I asked.

“Because it feels,” she said.

“How does it feel, baby?” I asked.

“Like crap,” she said.

Well, I, um, hmm.

I guess we got “normal.”

I think I’ll pass.

We finally got to the bottom of it. It wasn’t the actual Grace that was problematic for her, but the team cheer that we do afterward. Yeah, we do a team cheer at dinner. Listen, I never promised you typical, people. We are what we are.

At Brooke’s request, we began years ago to do “hands in” after Grace every night. We bounce our hands together in the center of the table and say, “Go, go, go go Golden Explorers,” just like Dora’s soccer team does before the big game. That was the part that she didn’t want to do without her sister. Apparently, we can’t take the field down a player.

And so we sat down to dinner, just the three of us, clasped our hands together and said, just as we always do,

Thank you for the food we are about to receive and the precious gift of each other.

And I may have added a silent exactly the way we are just before the Amen.


8 thoughts on “typical sucks

  1. You surely did get the epitome of “normal” here! Wonder where she got that language from? Gotta laugh.

    Love you,

  2. Today I needed to read this. A difficult situation last night by people who choose not to understand that just sometimes the world needs to make concessions for those of us not like everyone else. That could just help us out a little instead of battling against us at every corner.
    I agree “typical sucks”…and I understand ‘this day was too strong for me’…..
    It is lovely to hear of siblings who care so much for each other. I am lucky to have children like that to.

  3. Typical? What is typical??? Every Friday, here at the hospital, my friend Jake (Joyce) comes to give the sacrament and to talk about our week. We have become really good friends and we now go to coffee on other days of the week. She has come to love Q and his way of speaking. We pray before she leaves, she and I say the Lord’s Prayer and then Q says his prayer, Now I lay me down to sleep. At the end he god blesses everyone and names them all. He’s been doing this since he could talk. And she loves it. Sometimes normal just doesn’t cut it. Thanks Jess.

  4. Normal is very over-rated. I’m replying to share a story of a friend of a friend. She have me permission to share. I have followed your posts on the blog and Facebook for awhile and haven’t seen anything this ignorant, but perhaps I missed it. Her daughter Ella lost some playmates this week because their mother decided that autism might be contagious. She thinks her kids have lower standardized test results this year because of their exposure to Ella. I can’t even comprehend this level of ignorance. I am glad that Anglea is receiving a lot of support from friends, acquaintances and even strangers but I wanted to spread her story as wide as possible. Thanks. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=694977760568625&id=100001692220055

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