five months

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{Image is a photo of Brooke at age four, when I never, ever would have believed the following possible.

Thank God (and Brooke) I know better than to believe anything impossible now.}

You might remember that back in October, I posted the following on Diary’s Facebook page:

On Oct 17, 2013, at 2:42 PM, [Brooke] wrote:

Hi Mom and Dad,

Something happened at school today and I wanted to tell you. I was in [the learning center] doing math and A was crying loudly. I was a bit sad because I wanted to focus on A to find out why he was crying. Guess what even though A was crying and it was loud and hurt my ears a little bit I was working and I decided not to cry or scream so I was working the whole time.

XOXOXOXOXOXO,

Brooke

P.S.
If you feel sad then calm down by taking a deep breath.

To this day, it remains among my very favorite of Brooke’s emails. Like top three at least. And that’s saying something, because I pretty much have a new favorite every time she sends one. Which is, ya know, every day.

I wrote back to her, as I always do. I’ve never known whether or not she reads my responses to her no less internalizes them, but I write them anyway. I know how hard she works to craft these messages to us. I never want her to feel like they’re disappearing into a vacuum. I want her to know that I hear her, and that I cherish her words. So even though I couldn’t be sure my responses had any meaning to her, it mattered enough to me to keep putting them out there. I wanted her to know her Mama was listening.

That day, this is what I wrote:

On Thursday, October 17, 2013 2:51 PM, Jess Wilson < wrote:

Oh, honey; we are SOOOOOOO proud of you!!!!!!!

That’s AWESOME!!! You found your calm ;)

Love you so much.

XOXOXOXOXO

Mama

Sent from my iPhone

Yesterday, for the first time ever, I got not one but FOUR emails from my girl. The last was a typical rundown of the day, sent not to me or even to Luau, but to Katie. But the first was something very, very different. It consisted of only six words, sent in response to an email that was more than five months old. It looked like this:

i am proud of me too.

-

On Thursday, October 17, 2013 2:51 PM, Jess Wilson < wrote:

Oh, honey; we are SOOOOOOO proud of you!!!!!!!

That’s AWESOME!!! You found your calm ;)

Love you so much.

XOXOXOXOXO

Mama

Sent from my iPhone

The other two were very similar. One was only two words — THANK YOU — in response to an email I’d sent to her on October 4th. The other is far more fun to show than describe. (I’ve flipped the order so that it reads chronologically)

On Dec 18, 2013, at 2:49 PM, [Brooke] wrote:

Hey Mama,

I missed library today because I was at a doctors appointment but Ms J said that I could bring my library books tomorrow. I brought my snow pants so I could play in the snow. I saw Ms N and her baby Quinn today. They came to visit. Quinn was crying loudly and it was ok. I stayed calm and told Quinn to not cry. I said, “Don’t Cwy” Quinn was really tired and Ms N pulled and pushed the stroller because he wanted to go to sleep. Talk to you later.

XOXOXOXO,

Brooke

On Wednesday, December 18, 2013 2:54 PM, Jess Wilson wrote:

Oh, honey, that’s so awesome that you stayed calm when the baby was crying!!!! Was it fun to get to see Ms N? I’ll bet she was happy to see you. I’m so proud of you.

Love you tons and tons!!!!

Mama

Sent from my iPhone

On Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 12:05 PM, [Brooke] wrote:

I am proud too. It was fun to get to see Ms N. I was not scared of Quinn crying.

Last night at dinner, I asked her if she usually reads my responses. I’ve asked before, but haven’t been able to get an answer that I understood. Last night, she said, “Yeah, and you said that you’re sooooooo proud of me when I waited for that boy, A on the mat.” (A reference to a different email about waiting her turn in adaptive PE when another child was having a tough time.)

“Are you proud of me?” she asked.

“I sure I am,” I said.

“I’m proud of me too,” she said. “Should I be?”

“You sure should,” I said.

“Should what?” she asked.

“Should be proud,” I said.

“Can you give me a whole sentence?” she asked.

“Yes, kiddo,” I said, “You should be very proud that you waited for A on the mat.”

She seemed satisfied.

“I have a question,” I said.

“What is it?” she asked.

“Why did you write back to my emails today?”

It was a tough question. “Why”s are still a big challenge. Her answer would typically be “I don’t know!” but I had to try. I waited, comfortable in the processing time silence.

“Because I wanted to tell you of that,” she said.

“Thank you, baby,” I said. “It really means a lot to me that you told me.”

My girl operates on a timeline all her own. She continues to process events days, weeks, months, even years after they occur. In that context, a five month response time to an email feels just right. It feels Brooke right. And what feels even better is knowing beyond any doubt that my daughter knows that her Mama hears her. And is so, so proud of her.

Her wanting to tell me and having the means to tell me? Well, those are just icing on the cake.

{Emails are prompted and facilitated by Brooke’s aide as part of her school-to-home communication plan,  but the words are all hers. They are shared here with her permission. Only names are changed. Everything else remains untouched.}

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12 thoughts on “five months

  1. Not enough “likes” in the world.

    (The way the internet provides alternatives to real-time communication has enabled communication for so many people, it’s incredible. Even a 5-minute gap makes all the difference in conversations for me. I’m so glad this is something Brooke can use, and from so early!)

  2. Jess, I don’t read ALL of your posts, but of the ones that I have, I LOVE that your Mom is always the first to comment! :-)

  3. I am learning from Brooke, and your posts. E got paired up with a match yesterday in the irun4 program. I’m pretty sure he will not respond (but who knows right?) when i read their posts to him and show him the pictures and things they send…but because you share Brooke with us, I’m going to do all those things. It may be 10 yrs before I know if he liked it or heard it or even was annoyed by it…but I will share anyway because we DONT really know even a fraction of whats going on in those beautiful little differently wired brains. And Brooke, i hope one day, when E gets bigger hes able to write awesome emails like you do :)

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