the invitation 

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{image is a photo of Brooke at Surfside Beach on Nantucket, dancing with the sea.}

For years, I lamented the moments in which my girl, in the word I’d have used, “disconnected.”

(I hate this next sentence, but the truth of it cannot be denied.)

When my girl, as I was so sure she did, disappeared into a world of her own, I felt rejected.

This morning, while we were at the beach, I was looking out at the water when Brooke ran off. I searched the shoreline for her, but saw nothing. Panicked, I looked behind me, where she was happily galloping up to the grass.

“Brooke!” I shouted, “you scared me, kiddo. I didn’t know where you were.”

“Here I am!” she shouted back.

“Do you want to be alone?” I asked. It seemed so obvious. She’d run away from where I was after all.

“No,” she shouted back, “You will be here with me.”

Come closer, would you? I need you to hear this part. It’s important.

She wasn’t running from anything. She was running to something – to the place she wanted to be. By leaning into the magnetic pull of her whim, she was inviting me to do the same.

Later this afternoon, another beach, another moment.

We are walking along the shore and she veers off suddenly toward the dunes. She stops and dives into the warm sand along the edge of a craggy ridge. Her fingers dig and pull, dig and pull. She laughs as she crushes the flat “crystals” of sand and, in so doing, showers her legs in their soft, white sand.

I stand over her, watching for a bit, then turn to the horizon. Bored, I look down at my phone. Thankfully, I don’t get a signal. Point taken.

I sit down in the sand next to my girl. I watch her. Reach, dig, pull, crush. Reach, dig, pull, crush. Her laughter swirls into the wind and floats out over the water. Reach, dig, pull, crush. Reach, dig, pull, crush.

I join her. Reach, dig, pull, crush. Reach, dig, pull, crush. I find that I love the way that the sand feels in my fingers, cascading down onto my legs. It’s dry and light, delicate and soothing. Reach, dig, pull, crush. Reach, dig, pull, crush.

Periodically I hand her a “good” crystal. Without a word, she takes it, crushes it, watches the cascade.

She offers up a half a script. Without a word, I finish it.

We sit like this. Reaching, digging, pulling, crushing, cascading, scripting, laughing into the wind and over the waves.

Once I thought she was running from, escaping into a world of her own.

Now I know.

She was inviting me to see and touch and taste and smell and FEEL the world – the one we share – in a way that I never would have thought to do.

Reaching, digging, pulling, crushing, cascading, scrtipting … laughing.

 

7 thoughts on “the invitation 

  1. I’m so happy you’ve reached a place a true understanding. A place that allows you to revel in your girls, as is, with no buts or what ifs. Have you ever felt more content than in those moments?? The rest of the breathing world matters not. New traditions are born. Not like the weekend morning stops at deli or candy or milkshake counters, maybe, but no less valuable. Reading your hurt years ago pained me. I love that your crushing sand crystals.

  2. Beautiful post! Your willingness to enter Brooke’s world is such a sweet expression of unconditional love, it truly moved me. That you understand her ways of doing things and seeing the world are of value is the most precious thing you could give any human being. It will always be priceless to Brooke. I really hope you know that, because (even if) she is so confident in your love that she never feels the need to articulate it to you verbally, it is still the truth.

    My own upbringing was fraught with abuse, leaving me with PTSD. Last year at, age 39, my Autism was diagnosed and finding this blog has been a haven. Jess, you are teaching me how to be my own loving parent and friend, and to be more gentle and accepting toward myself. The shift in perspective is refreshing and long overdue. Many thanks to this entire community for being a supportive, inclusive place!

    • I’m so glad to have helped provide a soft place to land. You deserve complete, while hearted acceptance, especially your own. xoxo

  3. NTs are at a weird thought pattern. Sand is amazing at that. I have a bouncing ball that feels similar. It is AMAZING!

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