I have six amazing children, but today I'm going to tell you a needed story about just two of them. I say "needed" because the news is hard right now. It's easy to live in a rage-y place right now, especially if you share my political bent and views about how Christians should be responding to it all.
We all need to see the good news too.
We all need to be reminded of what our aspirations of a better world can look like.
We all need to know that our fights are worth fighting because sometimes beauty emerges out of the struggle.
Jocelyn in 9. Zoe is 5. Both are badasses, and both would be horrified that I just used a "bad word" to describe them. (Meanwhile, one of their brothers would be asking why I am calling them bad donkeys. Thank you, literal understandings via autism!) They're rockstars. They're amazing. They are creative and determined and bold and beautiful.
When Jocelyn was little and our only child, I realized the best word to describe her is "very." No matter what she is or does, this child lives on the extremes. (She's a lot like her mama in that way.)
Before Zoe joined our family, we'd get messages from time to time from the director of the adoption program there in Taiwan. In most, she'd write something like, "the nannies want to make sure you know that she is very strong-willed." I said good. In our house, I don't know if we'd know what to do with any other kind of kid.
Now Jocelyn's "very" comes out in some radiant ways. She loves to read, and by that I mean everything and anything and all the time. She's learning to play piano, and she's practically obsessed with practicing. And she has learned about her siblings' disabilities and medical conditions, and she often tries to figure out how she can help them, if she can.
Now Zoe's "strong will" comes out in some defiantly gorgeous ways. She has defied almost every negative expectation we had been told about her. She won't talk? No one told her that, and she's become a chatterbox. She won't be able to keep up cognitively with her peers? Her peers are working to keep up with her, actually. She might not be able to express emotions or interact with others? Um, that's laughable to anyone who knows her now. She will be "horribly devastating" to our family, as one specialist said prior to the adoption? NOPE. She is defiant in all the ways that we could have ever hoped, defying any less-than expectation that so many unknowingly harbor toward kids with disabilities.
All the fourth graders at their school participate in the Invention Convention. They come up with ideas of something they can make to solve a problem. They make it. And then they make poster boards to show it off, and parents and teachers weave their way through the library to ooh and ahh over their work.
Today is the Invention Convention. Today these two girls are coming together to show something amazing. To prepare for the project, Jocelyn and Zoe talked about things that Zoe couldn't do like her classmates. Neither of them were comfortable with those limitations. Both of them saw the hopeful word "yet." Not Zoe can't do that. Zoe can't do that yet.
They came up with turning pages of a board book independently and getting her binder out of her bag and into the bin like all of her classmates. Then they got to work. They tried different things. Ultimately, a Harris Teeter bad rigged to the side of her chair, a cord tied to the top ring of her binder, and bump-on stickers at the corner of board book pages worked to turn "can't do that yet" to "I can do it! I can do it! Look!" (That last statement are the exact words of Zoe.)
But I don't think words can suffice here. Take a look at the beautiful brave of two girls who dared to dream beyond present limitations.
This, my friends, if what two girls can do when no one tells them that they can't.
(Please forgive any typos here. I'm off to the Invention Convention, so I don't have time for silly things like proofreading today.)