When the Stars Burst

A completely gratuitous shot of my girls from a really long time ago just because

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Tuesday, July 10th

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Dinner’s wrapping up. Well, mostly. Brooke has apparently decided that she’s done. We know this because she’s done the fake burp which she now uses to convey the fact. Unexpected, perhaps, but pretty damned funny, especially given that it’s not really a burp as much as a croak.

She runs from the table into the den without another word.

“Excuse me, young lady,” I say to her back. “What are we forgetting please?”

She comes running back to the table. I never cease to be amazed by just how much this child runs. Someday I’m going to put a pedometer on her. I’m guessing a marathon a day.

She puts one cheek back in her chair and cocks her head toward me. Sort of. “Meeeeeeeee I be excused please? Cause I’m all full. *Burp*”

I smile at her and say that she may.

Before I know what’s happened, she’s crawled up and over me and is sitting on my lap. Her long, lean legs hang over the sides of my chair. She is straddling me and we are facing one another. Taking advantage of the proximity, I deposit a kiss on her nose. She grins.

She reaches for both of my hands and laces her fingers through each of them. I will never take this for granted. She holds my hands up on either side of my head, just below my ears, and begins to sway us side to side. And then she sings.

When the stars burst

The moon says, Hi

And the sun says, Bye

And everything is OK

When the stars burst

Up in the sky

Then it’s nighttime

And you have to go to sleeeeeep.

We are intertwined – a messy tangle of hands, legs, eyes. God, those big brown eyes. Locked onto mine. The second time in a matter of days. We’re so close I can smell the spaghetti on her breath. The moment is so sweet, so intense, I nearly lose it. As soon as she finishes the song, she tells me that it’s my turn to sing it to her. I happily oblige, adding my own little twist.

When the stars burst

The moon says, Hi, Brooke

And the sun says Good night, Brooke

And everything is OK

When the stars burst

Up in the sky

Then it’s nighttime

And you have to go to sleeeeeep.

This goes on for so long that I finally scoop her up in my arms and move us both to the comfy chair in the den. For what has to be a solid fifteen minutes – a lifetime in our world, we interact this way. Alternating singing to one another, changing the words ever so slightly each time. Hands clasped, inches apart.

Eventually we stop singing and she leads me into a series of scripts. I follow happily as she makes her way through Rock, Paper, Scissors, Shoot! to Ugly Pear Lop Ala Kazool and then a hard right into the Land of the Knock Knock Jokes. “Knock knock,” she says. “Who’s there?” I answer. “Pooch,” she says. “Pooch who?” I ask. “Pooch your arms around me, baby!” she says as we roll into a hug on the chair. Her giggle melts into my hair. I will follow her as long as she will have me.

The moment is divine.

~

Wednesday, July 11th

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It’s getting late. Brooke should already be in bed, but we’re still puttering around getting things ready for tomorrow. No one’s in a panic. It’s summertime, after all.

I reach into Brooke’s drawer to grab a pair of shorts and find one of Katie’s favorite pairs tucked in there by mistake. I grab them and head off to Katie’s room to put them where they belong.

Ten minutes later, Katie’s door creaks open. Luau looks down and finds me on the floor in front of her dresser. I’m holding the shorts, laid across the top of the open drawer where they belong. I am sobbing.

I miss my girl so much that it’s physical. I feel like I left not just my heart at that camp, but my left arm along with it. I’m OK – sort of – until I come in here. Here, in her room, where she isn’t, I don’t have a prayer.

I know I should have run in, dropped the shorts and run out. But I wasn’t strong enough. And here I am, as Katie would say, a big ole blob of Mama mush on her floor.

Brooke appears in the door behind Luau. I know I should do something. Say something. Be stronger than I am. There’s no time to process what I should be doing or how I should do it.

In one fluid moment, Brooke crosses the room, straddles my lap and grabs my hands. Before I can think about what’s happening, we are swaying. And she is singing.

When the stars burst

The moon says, Hi

And the sun says, Bye

And everything is OK

And you feel better now because the stars burst

And it’s nighttime

And you’re all done crying

And the stars burst

Up in the sky

And then everything is OK now

And you have to go to sleeeeeep.

She has the voice of an angel.

The moment is so sweet that it aches.

~

Those of us considered neuro-typical – what do we do in that situation? We wait. We watch. We look for clues. We assess. We ask inane questions. “Are you ok?” (Obviously not, no.) We dance around each other. “Is there anything I can do?” (A tissue, I suppose.) We wait for our cue to enter from stage right. Maybe she needs a moment. When she stops crying, I’ll go talk to her.

Brooke does not.

She doesn’t stop to process, to wonder, to hem, to haw, to ask, “Is this the right thing to do?” She isn’t hampered by convention nor bullsht social construct. She saw her Mama hurting and she reacted in the best way that she knew how. She came to tell me that everything was OK.

And in that moment, it was far, far better than OK.

~

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The images may not be reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without the written permission of Jess at Diary of a Mom.

© 2008 – 2012 Diary of a Mom.

About the Author: Jess can be found on Twitter @diaryofamom and on her blog, Diary of a Mom where she writes about life with her husband Luau* and their beautiful daughters — eleven- year-old Katie*, an utterly fabulous typically a-typical rising sixth grader, and nine- year-old Brooke*, a loving, talented, hilarious rising fourth grader who has autism.

She also runs the Diary of a Mom Facebook page, a warm and supportive community of parents, friends, adults on the autism spectrum and some random people in her life who cared enough to hit ‘Like’ and probably now wonder what they got themselves into.

This piece first appeared on Jess’ blog and is reprinted here with permission.

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One Response to “When the Stars Burst”

  1. It is so special when my daughters comfort me, and so unexpected. Both my girls are on the spectrum, and when *they* come to *my* emotional rescue, or want to show affection, I savor every moment of it! Those who say children with autism can’t empathize with others just aren’t patient enough to see it. :) Thanks for sharing– your story was very touching.