annie


OK, so I know I was in the middle of a story and the obvious implication was that I’d deliver the ending today. But indulge me, won’t you? Because it’s going to have to wait.

I swear I’m not trying to be coy. To be honest, I’m not even sure that Friday’s story is worthy of its cliff-hanger status. Actually, I’m pretty sure that it isn’t. I really only split it into parts so that it wouldn’t be too long to read in a single sitting. You see, I have a tendency to ramble on and well .. um, what was I saying? Oh yeah, rambling. Sorry.

Anyway, the second half of the story is going to have to continue to hang onto its cliff until tomorrow because something happened on Friday. Something that I have to share with you RIGHTHISVERYSECOND. Something that I know you will GET. Something that prompted this utter non-poet to create the following two lines. Check it out – they even rhyme.

It may well be the simplest thing
That sets a heart aloft on Hope’s transcendent wing.

So, while I’m sorry to keep you waiting, I’m hoping you’ll understand why.

***

Friday morning, before school

I held Brooke’s backpack open as she slowly extracted its contents. She pulled out her binder and homework folder and dropped them on the floor with a thwack. Next, she cajoled her lunch sack out, then stood on her tip-toes to push it into its place on the top of her locker.

Annie* came bouncing down the hallway. She stopped at her own locker, right next to Brooke’s.

“Hi, Brooke,” she said smiling.

“Hi, Annie,” Brooke answered.

Brooke looked at the floor. To no one in particular she added, “I like spending time with her.” The script. Brooke can’t say Annie’s name without following it with, “I like spending time with her.”

“Brooke, honey,” I said quietly, “why don’t you tell her that?”

Annie was watching us intently as she hung up her coat.

Brooke took a step toward Annie. From no more than twelve inches away from her she said softly, “I like spending time with you.”

“Thanks, Brooke,” Annie said. She was grinning.

“Annie,” I said, helping Brooke to hang up her coat, “we had a really good time when you came over to our house. We’d love to have you again sometime.”

Brooke took a step back and stood quietly by my side. It was the only time I’d ever seen her linger in the hallway. She had interrupted her precious routine – First the binder and folder, then the lunch sack, then she walks to the door and says with a sing-song lilt, “Can I come in now?” – Instead, she stood next to me.

As I nudged the last corner of her too-big back-pack into her too-small locker, Annie said the following. And in so doing, took away any hope of me telling you anything other than this today.

“Or maybe Brooke could come over to my house.”

Yes, it may well be the simplest thing
That sets a heart aloft on Hope’s transcendent wing.

(The rest of the other story tomorrow – pinky swear.)

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27 thoughts on “annie

  1. Wow. What a lesson. Given the prior post – in which you worried about the playdate – it really hammers home the fact that often we read more into “unsuccessful” playdates than the kids do.

    Love Annie. Love Brooke. Love you.

  2. brooke! conquering the friend world! and i love that she’s doing it all her own way. she’s not hiding herself, her personality. brooke…in all of her brooke-ness…is getting out there and making friends. woo hoo.

  3. Your posts bring tears to my eyes every time. Your Brooke is so similar to my son, and the stories really touch home. I remember his first request for a playdate and the excitement and anxiety that I felt. You handled it so very well and Brooke and Katie are so lucky to have such a great Mother!
    I can’t wait to hear about Brooke’s playdate at Annie’s house!!

    • Love that kid. I do. But you know, as much as I was ready to induct her into sainthood too, I’ve realized that by doing so, I’m kinda selling my kid short. Ok, I’m screwing this up – not sure what I’m really trying to say, but let’s try this –

      What if she’s not an angel just because she wants to hang out with my girl? What if she’s simply what every kid SHOULD be – open and warm and smart enough to recognize someone who is a ton of fun, loves life, is smart as a whip, has a great sense of humor AND is one hell of a lot of fun to hang out with?

      I mean – what if?

      • Exactly!!!! That is how I feel too. Thanks for always capturing exactly what we are feeling but can’t exactly express.

  4. I’m telling you- Kid World is weird. They have their own sub-communication thing happening. They are often more judgemental and hurtful about little things, and then absolutely forgiving and understanding about big things. A “bad” playdate is for them a moment in time, rather than an expression of how “things” really are. For us, we tend to extrapolate into the future. If we go on a bad first date, we do not go on a second one. But kids… kids will give it another go. Teaching elementary school is a ball to watch their dynamics. And it is a totally different world than ours- even typical kids.

    Now- to prepare Annie’s mom… You’ll have to update us about THAT conversation… Good luck!

  5. Giant alligator tears sprung into my eyes as I read Annie’s reply. I’m so happy for you, Jess…I know you were unsure about Annie’s reactions to some of Brooke’s behaviors after their play date. Just goes to show that you can never judge a book by its cover, eh? I think we’re all quick to jump into over-protective mode, but it’s hard not to. I think it’s obvious that you’re doing a stellar job mommying that wonderful little girl…remember where she was just a few months ago? Amazing.

    And…HOORAY FOR BROOKE! Interrupting her routine to talk to a friend in the hallway? Huge. Just huge.

    • you are so sweet to say all that .. and yes, i do remember where we were. you know, just yesterday, we were walking to the car from school holding hands and i remembered writing that first brag page about how she held my whole hand for the first time. that was only three months ago, and there we were yesterday, holding hands like it was the most normal thing in the world.

      as hard as things can sometimes be, i love that we get to relish those moments, you know? nothing taken for granted. ever!
      :)

  6. Sometimes when we’re immersed in “autismland”, the behaviors, the non-verbal component, the absolute irritation of it all, we can forget the little things, like the sheer joy of the possibility of a friendship for one of our kids. I am thrilled for your daughter, and I hope Angie’s mom is as nice as her child, for that seems to be the crux of all successful playdates in this day and age. What a wonderful moment, and congratulations!

    Kim

    • tanya – i can’t even tell you how far her speech has come recently. there’s been this monumental shift all of the sudden – like all the pieces have suddenly fallen into place all at once. it’s so hard to pinpoint but at the same time you can’t miss it.

      the pronouns are there now as if they always were. and all these little colloquialisms – like she says, ‘that’s cool’ when you show her something!! i keep meaning to write about but it’s so hard to wrap my arms around it in a post.

      but thank you, thank you, thank you for picking up on it, even through cyberspace!!! god, i love this community!!!!!

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