my little one who beaded a bracelet for me, complete with purple sparkly dolphin bead
surviving another round of parent teacher conferences
the little girl on the swings who was writing in her notebook and pumping her legs at the same time
Edgar winner, Charlie Price, who asked me to show him some of my pages even after I busted his chops all afternoon at the local Author’s Fair. Here’s Charlie accepting his Edgar with grace and humility. I have a lot to learn from him both on and off the page.
Sometimes you make me want to tear my hair out. Not all of it, but some of it. Not all of the time, but some of the time. I have a feeling you feel like tearing your hair out some of the time, too, because navigating the world with autism is tough. I know that and surely you do, too. This is why instead of tearing my hair out, I breathe and you breathe and then we breathe together until we figure out a way to get from one thing to the next.
Lately you’ve been yelling at me. Strike that. You’ve been yelling at me all the time. It’s partly because anger is one of two emotions you understand, but also because you don’t have a firm grasp on voice modulation. When I point out that you’re yelling and that you may not realize it, you shift into a somewhat calmer voice for a sentence or two until you forget and start yelling again. And then I remind you again. And so our dance goes, a halting two sentence two-step.
Little One, the occasions when you’ve spoken softly of your own volition are a rarity I can count on one hand. And I do count them because every little success matters. You speak in whispers when you’re afraid, like when you slipped your hand into mine at the field trip where we watched dancers, white like angels, and you told me you were afraid that the devil was going to come out next. Scary stuff worthy of your whisper for sure.
Today I reminded you that you’d have a guest teacher for the next couple of days and that we’d see each other again after Thanksgiving vacation. You misunderstood and when we hugged goodbye, you whispered “You’re leaving? I’m not going to see you again?”
My heart broke into brittle pieces, Little One, because you are so afraid of your loved ones leaving you. I assured you I’d be back and we’d see each other again in a few days and you whispered “I don’t like this.” I could hear the fear in your voice.
Little One, I’m not leaving you. Even when you make me want to pull my hair out, I will come back. Even when I have to take deep breath after deep breath, I will come back. Even when you spend the whole day learning not to yell, I will come back. When you come to me with anger, or frustration, or fear, I will do my best to come back with patience, consistency and love.
Know this, Little One, you are worth coming back for.
It breaks my heart that someone you love doesn’t think so. And it tears me to bits that you associate loving with leaving.
And so I will spend the rest of our time together this year proving that I will always come back to you. I will always come back for you.
Little One, I will always come back because of you.
The trees drum my window pane.
The rain taps Morse code on my roof,
A storm is whispering its secrets to me,
Reminding me to fall back, fall back,
Fall back to sleep for a blessed extra hour.
The clock’s red numbers blush at 4:36am,
Everything in the house is hushed,
Against the sound of the storm and your snores filling the air between us,
I close my eyes and fall back, fall back
Fall back into your arms.
You stir ever so slightly and I press into you,
Watching your eyelids flutter as dreams play in your mind.
I know the topography of your face like I know myself.
I kiss the scar beside your eye and fall back, fall back,
Fall back through decades of memories with you.
I watch ruby minutes flicker by,
You wake and tease me about stealing all the covers.
We giggle and wrap up in arms and legs and blankets,
I lie awake with gratitude for this extra hour to fall back, fall back,
Fall back in love with you all over again.
the awesome birthday present I received, especially surprising being that my birthday is in July
the pumpkin one of my little ones sewed for me in his sewing class
the Cake Pops that same little one brought me. Come to think of it, I received the Cake Pops and the birthday present on the same day. Did someone switch my birthday without telling me?
the fresh smell of clean sheets as I slip into bed
driving with the top with the seat warmer on. Hello, Fall!
waking to the sound of wind chimes
Terry, who took care of me while I was sick all weekend. That guy did the laundry, changed the sheets, did the dishes, rented me a movie, rubbed my back and asked hundreds of times if I needed anything. It’s so lovely to be taken care of.
We’re a rag-tag group of people vigilantly pursuing self-sustaining educational & employment opportunities with and for students and their families living in rural communities in developing countries. We believe in asking hard questions like, “What do you need and how can we help?” We believe that communities know their needs better than we do and that it’s our job to listen. We’re big on being kind for the sake of kindness and we believe that even the smallest acts of kindness can make a big difference. We believe in keeping vigil over one another and watching for opportunities to help, no matter how far off the beaten path those opportunities take us. We’re vigilant in our belief that God has given each person unique gifts and that one of the highest forms of worship is using those gifts to serve others. We believe God has a purpose for each life and Vigilante Kindness is our purpose. Join us as we live out wild adventures in service of God and others. Join us in committing acts of Vigilante Kindness.