doing her part

Is there anything better than family who lets your kid blow out the candles on their cake? #Grateful

Like ·  · Share · Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 10:21 pm
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The Bat Mitzvah girl spoke about how she planned to take on her responsibility as a newly minted adult in her community. She spoke of the work that she will be doing for a local autism association.
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“It is because of my little friend Brooke,” she said, “that I do this. Being so close to little “Boots” and her family has shown me the need to advocate for research and resources for people with autism.”
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She stood before the congregation and said, “I want to do my part.”
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~ From A Sense of Peace, Diary, October, 2009
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On Saturday night, we went to a surprise birthday party for my cousins. The one in the photo above. The one at which Miss Brooke was not only allowed to ‘help’ blow out the candles, but lovingly encouraged to do so. Three times.
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The one at which Brooke became uneasy after approximately twelve minutes and declared that she wanted to go home.
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The one at which our teenaged neighbor, Lauren immediately said, “I’ll be happy to hang out with her downstairs.”
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Ed note: Lauren is the same teenaged neighbor I wrote about –> HERE <– and I’m about to beg you to please, please stop reading and click on the link so that you can read the context and know why the rest of the story is so meaningful so here goes .. Please, please, please click on the link to read the context so that you’ll know why the rest of the story is so meaningful. Pretty please?
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You back?
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Or are you just pretending you clicked on it and you’re just totally disregarding my plea and continuing to read?
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Hmm.
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You do look a little shifty.
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Anyway, the party.
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The one at which I went downstairs to see how Brooke and Lauren were doing. The one at which I found them sitting across from one another in a conversation of sorts. A ‘conversation’ that consisted solely of making silly faces at one another in turn. A conversation that didn’t demand words. A conversation that had BOTH OF THEM giggling with delight. A conversation that made me giggle along with them.
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And the same party at which Lauren quietly told me, “Oh hey, there’s a new boy in my school. He has autism. I’m helping him – ya know, showing him around and stuff.”
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The same party at which I fought hard to fight back tears.
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The same party at which I thought,
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Sweet Lauren,
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Two and a half years ago you stood before your congregation and said, “I want to do my part.” I wonder if you know how much you already have.  And I wonder if you see just how lucky you are to have opened your heart so soon. 
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I envy you, kiddo. It took me until I was in my thirties to live a life as full as yours will simply always be because you’ve chosen to find ways to let EVERYONE into it. 
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My girls are so blessed to have you in their lives. 
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And so am I. 
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Love you punkin,
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Jess
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Ed other note: I have a new post up on Huff Po! Please come by, leave a comment if you’re so inclined and then share it, won’t you? I think – I hope – you’ll see why it matters so much to me. xo

16 thoughts on “doing her part

  1. I am ashamed to admit that in HS I wasn’t so accepting of Handicapable kids. I was nervous and afraid my friends would think. (of course, this was in a time that inclusion was not common…) I see my son and many of his friends accepting my little lady for who she is. I too am in awe by these young people who are so strong and have such strong conviction. May we all be blessed with many “Laurens” in our lives! Becky

  2. I’m going to echo what is said above “may be all be blessed with many ‘Laurens’ in our lives”.
    The community that you’ve created will take care of each other, and that includes Brooke AND Katie. To quote your 2009 post “Perhaps it is simply our job to help to light the candle. To lend to and gain strength from this community of people – all of us here who together may just find a way to deliver our children.” Together, us adults can teach our children to spot the injustices and feel that strength of being a part of something stronger together. And our children will take that, hand in hand, and change the world.

  3. My daughter (typical teenager – yuck – I love her ginormously..but teenage girls like 13-14…yuck) has some friends that when they are at my house seeing my son – you can see they have something in their eyes that will tell me…”what’s he about..I want to know more” and others who, upon seeing him and watching all of his strange noises and flitting about, have the curious look – not in the good way but in the “what’s WRONG with him way”. I think the bubbling up of compassion in the younger generation is inherent. It’s either there or it’s not – we try to teach it and it can become a behavior for some…but that genuine compassion from the soul is wired at birth. Lauren has it and it is a special, special gift. Everyone one of us with special kids should be gifted with a Lauren in our lives. Jess, you see her for the treasure that she is – she is just as lucky to have you, because you see her.

    • Patti, thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. I have to be honest, I respectfully disagree with your assertion that compassion is either there or it’s not. I certainly believe that some people are simply hard wired that way, but I truly believe that compassion CAN be taught – by example.

      Lauren didn’t materialize in a bubble. Both of her parents are loving, caring people who go out of their way to help those in need and who work hard to make this world a better place. They spend a lot of time and effort doing just that. And Lauren has always seen that example.

      I think talking at kids with lessons on how to be a good person will only work for those that are hard wired to receive the message, but showing them from moment one how to be good people can create the wiring we need to make this world a better place. If I didn’t believe that, I’d never write a word.
      ;)

  4. You’re proof that just one person CAN make a difference, and Lauren is most certainly doing so as well. I just received an email from my school system about “Light it Up Blue” on April 2nd (I’ll gladly forward if you want). You can be sure I’ll be wearing Blue on April 2nd and encouraging our students to do so as well. I may not dye my hair blue like Luau, but you can be sure I’ll be wearing as much blue as I can!

  5. Wow! Lauren is amazing. I love how you point out that she’s lucky, too. Because you are absolutely right! She is blessing herself along with all those around her!

  6. You’re getting awfully tarty with your demands.

    I love that about you.

    Bless Lauren, and the thousands of Laurens out there. May there be more being made every day. And by that, I mean it is OUR part to produce children that think and consider and feel for others.

  7. A parent can’t always experience his/her child as others do. Though I experience her in so many ways, and oftern think I know her better than she knows herself…your observation of “the girls” at the party fills my heart with warmth, love, and pride at how simple communication and joy can be. Kudos to Lauren for her beautiful heart and thank you to Brooke for letting Lauren be a part of her world.

  8. I am so thankful for all the “Lauren’s” in our life….. they make this journey so much easier….. What a great post – the both of them!

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