Last Wednesday the kids and I sat around the dinner table (Jeff was on business travel) sharing stories from our respective days. Because it was Wednesday I knew that the highlight of Cassidy’s day would be her circle of friends gathering. It’s a lunchtime get-together with a handful of girls. They all meet in the life skills room and–as they eat–they go around the table sharing stories and updates about what is going on in their lives. Much like you and I would if we were to break bread together. Only, this is far more momentous because it involves a group of typically-developing tween girls taking time to have lunch with a not-so-typically-developing tween girl: my Cassidy.
Back to Wednesday night, though. Cassidy rehashed the highs and lows of her day and then something clicked in her memory and her shared stories took an animated turn.
Today, at circle of friends, we talked about The Lorax. And I want to go to the movies with my friends to see The Lorax. We want to hang out this weekend. Can we hang out? Can I go to the movies with my friends this weekend and hang out with them? At the movies? Can we hang out?
“Hang out” is not a term Cassidy normally uses; I knew that this must have been a circle of friends topic. A ginger one, at that. You see, though these kids love Cassidy to death, a world of difference separates them. At twelve, most of those girls are blossoming into capable and independent young ladies, whereas Cassidy–blooming in her own right–relies heavily on our guidance to accomplish even the most mundane tasks. Still, when Cass looked at me with those hopeful eyes, repeating her desire to “just hang out” with her friends, my heart moved.
Thursday brought with it many phone calls and much last minute planning. If this “hanging out” were to occur, it would have to happen quickly because Cassidy was to board a plane to destination dad camp on Saturday. But come together it did and Friday night I found myself chaperoning five giddy girls. There was time to “hang out” at the house, followed by a trip the the movies and pizza.
Oh, that Cassidy. She was in her glory alright.
There was a time when an occasion like that would have been hard for me–with its stark comparisons splashed there before me like an insult. But not anymore. Nothing about that evening stung. I got to watch (from a nearby table) my Cassie girl doing the things girls her age are supposed to do with their friends. Twelve years ago I doubted that day would ever come. Oh me of little faith.
There’s this skit guys skit in which God is portrayed–chisel in hand–whittling away at that which needs whittling. These are the tools I’m going to use to make you into my original masterpiece.
I know that God has a plan for Cassidy. A plan that surpasses my every expectation. So, too, do I believe that helping her to get there is part of my chiseling. And moments like the one that took place in that pizza place last Friday night, little reminders that though the journey isn’t always easy, the road is always–always–blessed.