this

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photo by daddy

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Katie called from my mom’s house on Sunday morning. She was having a ball – all the nerves of the night before long since eclipsed by the anticipation of the day ahead.

I was so proud of my girl. She was proud of herself. She had conquered her fear and made it through her first sleep over. It was in her voice. She sounded older, more poised, more mature.

She wanted to speak to each of us – to touch each base in turn.

After listening to a delightful run-down of the schedule for the day, I switched the phone to speaker and handed it off to Brooke.

“Hi, Brooke!”

“Hi, Katie.”

“How are you, Brooke?”

“I’mfinethankyouhowareyou?”

“I’m fine, Brooke – Great job asking me! Brooke, what are you doing?”

Brooke tapped her hands on her thighs.

“I’m doing this.”

“Oh. That’s nice. What’s ‘this’, Brooke?”

“This.” She tapped her hands on her thighs again – a little more slowly, as if to show the detail in the action.

“Brooke, can you use your words to tell me what you’re doing? Can you DESCRIBE it?”

“Sure, Katie. I’m doing this.” She drew out the word this time .. thiiiiis.

“Well, that sounds great, Brooke. Have fun doing – um, ‘that’.”

“Ok, Katie.”

Quiet. Brooke was getting fidgy. The conversation has lasted far longer than most.

“Brooke, are you all done talking?”

“Oh yeah.”

“O.K. I love you, Brooke.”

“I love you, Katie.”

I took the phone back before sending it over to Daddy.

I told her that I loved her more than salty french fries on the beach.  What? Not the ultimate yard stick of love in your house? Whatever.

I did NOT tell her that I had wandered into her empty room the night before. I did NOT tell her how I’d straightened her quilt (again) or moved her stuffies into their preferred places. I did NOT tell her how I’d curled onto her pillow for just a second (or um, two) and cuddled her favorite stuffed bunny – the one who sleeps at her back every night – cherishing the smell of her on its ‘fur’. I did NOT tell her that I felt like my left arm was missing and that I couldn’t wait for her to come home.

Instead, I told her how proud I was of her. I told her that I couldn’t wait to see her the following day. I told her she was going to have a great time with her grandparents, which is exactly what she did.

Yes, my little girl is growing up. And I’m so proud I could bust.

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20 thoughts on “this

  1. You get major bonus points for not doing a Mission Impossible recon mission. I have this image of you in ninja gear, night vision goggles…scaling walls, dangling from ceilings. Luau’s in a van nearby, monitoring all communications, feeding you info.

    Hmmm…I’m joking, but now this I think about it, this probably came very close to happening. Admit it. There’s a grappling hook in the trunk of your car, isn’t there?

    (And congratulations on her first outing, that’s gotta be a scary/exciting thing.)

  2. It’s kind of refreshing to hear of someone who’s kid didn’t have a sleepover till age 8. Charlotte still hasn’t had one either (at her grandparents) and some of my friends look at me like I have 2 heads that she hasn’t spent the night there. (ASD or not, she’d be totally fine there. They totally GET her.) Friends say, “You need a night by yourselves!!” I suppose, but it can wait.

    I’m glad Katie did good and had a great time. And you survived! You’re growing up too!!

  3. Go Katie! Go Jess! From the evil Mama who flew to California, ditched the kids at the in-laws and went to Vegas. (and then texted every hour until I was told to leave them alone!)

    HAHAH

  4. My kids have ONLY slept over at my mom’s house, and that feels like it doesn’t count because my mom is at our house most weekdays. She’s like a third parent. No cousin sleepovers, no friend sleepovers, nada. I’m just not into it.

    And the way Katie directed Brooke? Wow. Just wow. What an amazing example you and Luau have set for her.

    Now, is she back home yet? If not, when?

    love.

  5. …and I’ve got to tell you, Grandpa DD and Grammy are still on a high after our great weekend with Katie!

    Love,
    Mom

  6. I’m with “M”, I spent my daughter’s first “cousin’s sleep-over” sleeping on my sister’s couch without Emily’s knowledge!

    You should be very proud of yourself!

  7. Yeah Katie! Caleb had an overnight at camp…his 1st night away…ever. They promised they would have all the kids call to say goodnight. I walked around all evening with the remote phone in my pocket. 7:00- no call. 8:00- no call. 9:00 – no call. Jeff had to stop me from calling the camp numerous times. Finally at 9:30 the phone rings. I picked it up after 1/4 ring, “Hello?” An adorable little voice says, “Hi. Is this my mom?” “Hi Caleb! Yes, it’s me, mommy!” “Best day ever mom!” CLICK! He hung up. That was it! I slept (or stayed awake really) with the phone in my hand in case they called. He didn’t need me. That was so hard for me…to let go…even for an evening and know he was okay and that others could and would manage his needs.
    There’s nothing small in this life.

  8. for the record –

    katie has tried a sleepover at a friend’s house. she didn’t make it.

    she tried a slumber party. she didn’t make it.

    she has spent a single night at my mom’s (with brooke, which according to katie is ‘totally different’) and a single night at my dad’s solo (with us at a hotel around the corner fielding her weepy 10pm entreaties to be picked up (she wasn’t))

    we have left the girls at home with our parents and with julie overnight and headed for the hills (ok, maine or the cape, not so hilly) but this was a really big step for her. she was solo, we were too far away for a quick pick-up and it was a full weekend.

    and yes, i am just as proud of myself for not breaking out the grappling hook. m, who told you?

  9. (sorry – WordPress rudely cut me off)

    Because, frankly, if I had read something like this when I was a kid, it would have filled me up for a year.

    Sweet, sweet tribute.

  10. The conversation between your kids could make me cry if I wasn’t on the estrogen patch.

    My kids had a really darling exchange yesterday, too – one of those can keep me going for days. (That, and the patch of course.)

  11. Ooo the first ‘sleepover’ is a biggie. No wonder you’re so proud. That’s a hurdle we still have to cross although I’d probably be a bit braver myself if it was with grandparents, there again much depends upon the relationship with the gp’s. With mine being far afield it’s probably not a fair comparison. Well done you [both]
    Cheers

  12. Kvelling. Katie’s is such a beautiful, patient, gracious spirit (well, from what I read). I also get that she’s becoming a strong and independent girl. Why shouldn’t she? Her mama sure seems to be all that and more.

    Wild applause for a successful sleep-away and for you giving her the space to grow so beautifully.

    And “This.” OMG, how adorable is Brooke?!

    Kvelling, I tell you.

  13. Yes, that photo is incredible! I was so touched by the phone conversation – I can picture it in my mind.

    Next week Brandon is taking Hope with him for a 4-day trip to MI – she’s only 2! I know it will be good daddy-daughter time, but I honestly don’t know how I’m going to survive it.

  14. I don’t even have the words to describe how impressed I am with your Katie. She is truly something else. The way she is with her sister, so touching.

  15. Agreed. That phone conversation was nothing short of totally awesome. I gave into pressure (MAJOR pressure) from my ex’s mother to let Cymbie stay thee when she was a year old. So in turn I then had to let my parents take her (fair is fair). I HATED every second. She was just too small. My ex’s mom started pressuring me about visits while she was still in the womb…and starting taking to take her when she was just a few months old. Actually, didn’t speak to me for 3 months when Cym was 7-10 months old bc I had told her NO. Needless to say she hasn’t left my side since I left my husband in Jan of 2010. Now I am TERRIFIED of letting her go anywhere for more than a few hours (besides school) with out me. Ex MIL had taken me to court, begged, pleaded, sucked up…no way lady. Now my ex is saying he want to take Cymbie to Maryland (we live in NJ) for weekends when he’s never spent more than 4 hours with her on a sunday here in jersey (and might I mention did not see her for a year after I left). So…back to court I go soon. Luckily, I’ve found an amazing lawyer who specializes in handling cases with special needs children, and is particularly well versed in ASD. Ugh..so ummm, yeah..these posts def hit me in a tough spot. I feel you. And so ends my babbling rant.

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