A perfect moment of joy between friends

Brandon has a friend at school whom he adores. This other little boy, who I'll call Dennis, kinda reminds me of Dennis the Menace, but in the best possible way - we really like him. He also seems to get Brandon like no one else. They've been in the same class for three years, and they've been mostly inseparable for the past two years.

Dennis has been out from time to time this school year - I think his family must be having one of those cursed years of one sickness after another after another. (I really feel for them on this!) On one occasion, he returned to school the same day Brandon asked me to pick him up early. I was able to get him early, but I found out later that Brandon had a really hard time leaving Dennis behind. He wanted to be with me, but he didn't want to miss a single minute of his friend being back. He actually got teary-eyed when he hugged Dennis goodbye. They have a really sweet and special relationship.

Brandon often comes home telling me plans that he and Dennis have made. We take them with a grain of salt. If moms or dads haven't been in touch, there aren't any actual plans. But a couple weeks ago the boys decided they were going to meet at the school playground to play after dinner. Matt picked Brandon up, heard the plan, and was able to take him at the time they said. Dennis wasn't there. 

A week later, I was doing pickup. Once again, a plan had been made. But I had a work commitment and I told Brandon I wasn't sure we'd make it back in time. He went with me, helped me, and I rushed to finish so we could get back to the school as soon as possible. We were 15 minutes late and Dennis was once again not there. 

While Brandon and I rushed to get to the school, I called Matt and begged him to meet me at the school so I could go home and change out of the shirt I spilled chipotle sauce all over (I was a literal hot mess). He met us, as promised, as we were walking back to the car and offered to stay with Brandon so he could play even though Dennis wasn't there. I got about 20 feet away, heading back to my car, when Matt called out to me.

I turned around and saw Brandon running for all his might toward Dennis, who was running just as eagerly to hug his friend. 

Their faces radiated happiness and their little bodies practically vibrated with joy. 

Even though I didn't have a camera ready, that image is etched in my brain as one of the sweetest things I've ever seen. 

Later, I found out that Dennis had to work pretty hard to convince his parents to let him go and I'm so thankful they humoured him.

The stories that come out of schools about mean kids and bullying (even some of what Brandon has experienced) can make us sad, depressed, and angry.

But those aren't the only stories, thank goodness. There are stories of kids who meet and form a bond that has the potential to last if life circumstances work in their favour. Whatever happens, I hope these boys will always remember the years of their friendship as happy times growing up knowing they have a friend to lean on no matter what.

39 years

When I was in middle school, I shared most classes with a girl who thought anyone older than her - even by a single day - was old. I tried to wrap my mind around that, but I couldn't. I tried to convince her that our parents weren't actually old, but that didn't work either. She was kinda funny in her views back then and I wonder how they've evolved as we're all well into adulthood now. She was also older than me, so I let her know that by her own standard she was old. (Gifted kids can be total know-it-all brats to each other.)

Age has always been just a number to me. It doesn't say anything about me other than how long I've existed. It's not a reflection of who I am or what I'm capable of doing. 

Today I turn 39 and begin my fortieth year of living. I've been thinking about this particular birthday for months because my hopes and dreams and goals for the next couple of years are pretty big.

I'm rekindling my interest in and love for various types of artistic expression.  (Not paint nites, though. Those don't interest me at all.) 

I'm overflowing with ideas and though I can't do them all (not at once, anyway), picking through them is gratifying and fun. 

When I look back on this year in 365 days, I want to be able to say I lived.

  • That I pursued the interests that fulfill me - regularly and passionately. 
  • That I loved my family vigorously.
  • That I worked hard for those who depend on me. 
  • That I made changes to be a better person than I am today.
  • That I sing and make music, even if it's only in my head.
  • That I have done my part to make the world/my community a better place.

None of us knows how much time we get to spend on this rock. We just have to make the most of each day we're given. Carpe diem.

The relativity of human function

The relativity of human function

"High functioning." "Low functioning." Labels that help us understand and compartmentalize people and behaviour are often misleading when it comes to actual ability to function. Norms and societal expectations (aka, stereotypes) have a funny way of doing that.

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