Or at least, stuff that happened on THIS saturday.
I had a craft fair that i attended with my sister for our photography business 2Sisters Photography. It was a lot of fun trying to plan out how we would set up our booth – and we did have a blast! Really, anytime we are together it’s a blast. Cause she laughs at everything i say. And that’s always a sure way of encouraging me to be even more over the top in my attempts to be funny and illicit laughter from my audience.
Anyways – we were in a booth next to a rather vociferous woman advertising “free vacations”. The kind that only come with one string attached – a timeshare presentation. It was good fodder for some giggly conversations all morning! My girls and Ben came down a few hours into the morning to get hair feathers, go on the bounce house, see all the fun stuff – and even Kendall got her face painted! This seems like such a normal thing – except for a kid who has huge sensory issues. Kendall’s brain doesn’t always give her the right message about sensory input. Sometimes it is telling her something is a light touch when its actually got the touch of an 8 ton elephant, and vice versa. Noises and sounds, lights and movement, feeling and sensing – all of these can be mere background issues or loud, scary, in your face overwhelming moments.
But she saw some other girls with their faces painted, and understood that she could get HER face painted, so she let me put her in the chair. And the girl who was doing the facepainting was so good. she let kendall feel the paintbrushes with her fingers, and then she brushed her hands, and then she tickled her face with the clean brush. She was so patient with kendall’s head ducks and movements, and she spoke softly to kendall the whole time. Kendall had a death grip on my hand the entire few minutes that this took – and I could just feel the effort it took for her to hold herself still – to tell her brain to turn off the overwhelmingness so she could have what she wanted – pretty face paint. Her little hands were just shaking with the effort of not screaming/dashing off/freaking out. And finally she was done.
And she was the happiest little Hello Kitty i’ve ever seen. The cutest one too!
Anyways – i don’t know who the face painting girl was. I only know that she made my day, and gave me a moment of pride in my daughter that comes so rarely in a journey full of “delays” and “percentages”. I want to go back and tell that girl to never lose her touch with her humanity. To never let a line full of other impatient kids and moms interrupt the absolutely amazing gift with kids that she has. maybe she sensed innately that kendall needed some special coaxing or maybe she was that amazing with everyone’s kids. I only know that for my kid, she was an angel.
I know its a little thing – this face painting. But when i look at pictures of my baby who spent most of the first year of her life sleeping or being poked and prodded, when i hear the gurgles of a newborn crying and realize that my baby never made those noises, she was too conked out to care if she had eaten or not – when i look at all that she fights against every day just to have fun running around with her sister and trying to be “normal”….i realize the weight of that one simple act of face painting. It was a glimmer of hope. Not that i’d lost sight of mine – but it needed a little boost.
So face-painter girl – thank you. From the bottom of my mommy heart. I hope somehow, someway, someday you know what a gift you have, and what a gift you’ve given me. Her paint is long gone now – but the memory is still there. The picture of this little girl smiling that smile of hers – it will stay with me LONG after your memory of this day has faded.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.