"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

in one ear and out the other

When I had three little children, I lost a five-year-old Celia briefly at a 10k race that Newel was running. My search ended in my finding her seated with a girl in a wheelchair in the handicapped section of the stadium thoroughly engaged in conversation.

Upon moving here to Franktown, Annie struck up a friendship with a little girl in her class at school who requires a walker to get around. One field trip in particular, consisted of a hike into a nearby canyon and Annie's love of loves is collecting rocks of all kinds. Kids paired up for the hike and Annie's friend was partner less due to the fact that she would need to stay on a wheelchair assessable trail. That afternoon following the trip, I asked how the hike had been and Annie told me that she had stayed to collect rocks at the trail head with her friend so that she wouldn't be alone.

Last year, Janie came home with a note from her teacher explaining to us that a little boy in class had snipped her dress with a pair of scissors. The parents were mortified and wanting to replace the dress. Kids will be kids and we certainly know kids so we are highly aware that stuff happens. We explained to Janie that little boys will do all sorts of things to get little girl's attention and sent back to these parents that they need not give it another thought. Later at a school function, Janie hauled a teeny tiny little boy with obvious special needs over to meet us, hugged him and introduced him as the "dress cutter". And ever since, she talks about him at every turn.

Sometimes leading this group of children feels like a game of "Marco Polo". I'm calling out the directions and watching them blindly flounder around and catch myself wondering "Can't they hear me?" I remind them daily to remember who they are and what they stand for as they exit my car to the bus in the morning and then sit back and watch as they nudge and push to get out of the car stepping on each other as they go. It leaves one to wonder, is it all going in one ear and out the other? Should I worry about how they interact when I'm not around?

I ran into "the dress cutter's" mother at Costco this morning and came away with the highest compliment a mother can get. It's necessary for her to visit the school during lunch to ensure that her son will eat. It's been a constant battle but the solution turned out to be a simple one. Janie feeds him and he will eat. At recess he runs all over the playground and the special education teacher struggles to get him to come back in. Again, the answer was quite easy. Janie stands on the sidewalk after their game and calls his name. He runs to take her hand and she walks him back to class. His mother tells me that he's never been invited to a birthday party or had a play date but talks to their family every night at dinner of the games Janie invents for the two of them to play each day.

I think she made my whole week. I look at my children as a rough and tumble bunch so often that I fail to see what others see. I love that my children live blind to other's differences. I love their capacity to love others. I feel that certain tightness in my chest that threatens to well into tears at the thought that out in the world, they are looking out for others and one another. It's validating to know that at least sometimes they are listening. That they are learning who they are and what they stand for.

1 comment:

  1. That's beautiful. What a sweetheart. It amazes me endlessly that there are PEOPLE in there!