Friday, September 17, 2010

It was the best

Oliver and Sophie, September 2001

This morning dawned difficult -- another change in routine or back to the most recent routine, since Sophie isn't going to go to the "old" new school and I now must go through the machinations of registering her at another school. She's home, again, with me at least for a short time. I love her to death, as you know, but:


I had planned on going to Oliver's school this morning for the weekly "sing," which I missed nearly every Friday morning last year and continue to get grief about. Oliver is nine and in fourth grade. What else can I say about him that I haven't said before? Here, particularly. Of the two boys, he has struggled a lot more with intense feelings regarding his sister and has expressed his frustration, his embarrassment and his sorrow in very articulate ways. This morning, I asked him whether it would bother him if I brought Sophie along to the Morning Sing, and he replied, No, you can bring her.

When we arrived at the school, the mini-concert had begun, and all the students were seated in a huge semi-circle on the asphalt playground. I slipped in behind the rows of parents and teachers standing behind the students, pushing Sophie's stroller out of the sun. I couldn't find Oliver, at first, in the crowd , but he soon found me and stood with us for a bit. When the concert was over, he lined up with his class, many of whom have never met Sophie and were either staring at her curiously or clearly uncomfortable. I braced myself and stole a look at Oliver's face, but when I caught his eye, he smiled and waved and when he walked by us, he stopped, leaned over Sophie and GAVE HER A KISS ON THE CHEEK!

I feel like I witnessed a rite of passage right before my eyes.


  1. "I feel like I witnessed a rite of passage right before my eyes."

    You did, and whether the other kids were consciously aware of it or not, the moment and the gesture are now embedded in their brains. And that's good.

  2. Such a beautiful moment. Thank you for sharing it.

  3. Oliver's gesture carried more knowledge to his classmates than any amount of lecturing could. Bravo, Oliver and Sophie for the loving demonstration.


  4. That is so beautiful. To think that he kissed her with no shame right in front of all his classmates, that definitely is a rite of passage. Those kids that saw him do that I'm sure will get more out of it than you can imagine. I love that Jacob is not ashamed of Emily in any way, but I can see that it might be different if she was bigger and older than him? I'd like to think not.

    I hope the new registration process goes smoothly.

  5. Oh, that made my heart skip a happy beat when I read that. Jacob's twin brother Ethan has so many roiling emotions about his brother's autism, and right now he's in a terribly negative phase, expressing a lot of anger, resentment and bitterness. He's also clearly upset when kids ask him about his "weird brother." I know that this will pass, but I'm not holding my breath.

    To hear that things are turning around and going in the right direction in your house - how wonderful, I am so happy for you. Maturity in your children is a magic thing.

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  7. I do believe you are right. He loves his sister and has come of age to see how dear she is to him.

  8. Oh that is wonderful and beautiful and it makes me smile.

    So does that photo, by the way. And the outfit on Oliver? One of my kids had the same onesie -- from the Gap, if I recall. Just seeing it brings back little one memories.

  9. That is such a nice photo of a sweet moment between brother and sister, while you smile and watch from the corner and make it happen - you made the rite of passage possible.

  10. This makes me cry. The photo and the story. And I agree with Francesca. You made the rite of passage possible.

  11. Tears and pain and happiness welled up. That is beautiful.

  12. Oh, wow. WOW.
    I do think sometimes, when I am feeling particularly hopeful, which is admittedly not all the time, that our typical sibs, if we pay enough attention and do our best to acknowledge their feelings, WILL be ok, maybe even better off for having a sibling with special needs.

  13. What a wonderful photograph of those gorgeous children. As to your experience at school, it seems like a miraculous rite of passage - and the fact that you were there to see it, makes it even more so!

  14. Bless, bless, bless the children. Bless their mother, too.
    Quite beautiful.

  15. What a wonderful thing. I always felt like my boys were growing up learning and enabled by my slight limitations. Then we were thrown into a major whirlwind and they saw things in one night that no adult should ever have to see. (Our caregiving is a result of attempted suicide.)

    I truly believe that while children who grow up in households where care giving is a daily thing face challenges others will never know about, most of those children also grow up to be good caring, well-rounded, loving, empathic people with very big hearts. They end up knowing how to care for both themselves and others and appreciate the joys of life. If we give them the tools and show the good spirit and attitude.

    It sure looks likes Oliver is being shown the way. :)

  16. Yay for all of you.
    "If you wanna sing out, sing out..."



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