Sunday, August 10, 2008

An Open Letter from
"Moosh in Indy"
to Ben

Dear Ben,

Did you know that in my choice of religion we believe that exceptional children like yourself were so amazing before coming to this Earth that an average everyday body in this life could have never contained all the special gifts and powers that you hold? You are a gift to the rest of us, a gift that can teach the rest of us about love, family, faith, trust, hope and charity, if we only stop to pay attention.

And thankfully, because of you, I have stopped.

You hold a little corner of my heart. Your sweet toothy grin is imprinted on my mind and in my soul. Even though we've never met, you're with me whenever I head out.

Your dad asked for funny. HA! Instead he's going to get a little womanly feeeelings to class this place up a bit. Dude, is that his feet that I smell? I know it's not yours. Anyway. I want to tell you about my friend Big Red.

Big Red is about 14. The moosh and I first met him at the zoo where he was being wheeled around by a very pretty college student. I could tell his buddies were jealous. As soon as the moosh saw him in his wheelchair she asked quite loudly (bless her little three-year-old lack of tact) ,"WHAT'S WRONG WITH HIM?"

This was my moment of truth. The moment I've been gearing up for. The moment I've been taking lessons from your dad for.

"Nothing's wrong with him, he was just born different. Just like you have curly hair, he has a wheelchair. His legs work differently than yours just like your hair grows differently than his."

Was this a good answer? I don't know. I just didn't want to ignore her question or him.
His aide asked if she wanted to say hello to him. She said his nickname was "Big Red."
The moosh wasn't too keen on the idea but I remembered my lesson in exceptional children 101 from Bennie. I knelt down, touched his arm and talked to Big Red.

I was scared as hell. Scared to say the wrong thing. Scared to offend him or anyone around. Scared of looking like an idiot.

But I did it.

I simply envisioned Big Red as you Ben, with a mom, a dad and a sister who love him dearly and as a little boy who loves attention from girls.

We saw Big Red again last week at a baseball game, this time he was with his mom.
I said hi to him. Almost caused his mom to run him into a pole, poor guy. She was probably wondering how Big Red was finding the time to get out and about with the ladies. Leave her guessing Big Red.

So sure, it's nothing great. But I used to be one of those people who would smile and look away. Or not even look in the first place.

You taught me to look. To pay attention. To have my daughter pay attention.
For this I must thank you.

The moosh has your painting hanging on her wall next to a painting of Jesus.
I can't think of two better examples of love to be hanging side by side in her room.
Sure hope I'll have the honor of you drooling on me someday. (Ben, not Bennie. sheesh.)

Casey is the blog author of "Moosh in Indy." I've installed a quick link to her site via her blog name in the title. She, her husband Cody, and the most adorable "Moosh" reside in Indianapolis, Indiana...for now. Strange things happen to Casey on a treadmill. Go ahead. Ask her about it. I double dog dare you!


kimmyk said...

aww great post.
i love what casey and moosh did with the place....i can sense a shift in the testosterone. good to have some estrogen up in here.

did big red remember you from the zoo?

Kyla said...

Thtis was beautiful, Casey!

Nurse Betty L. Boop said...

Yep, Ben will do that to ya! Casey and Moosh, thanks for fem'ing up this "boy blog" ;^)

we_be_toys said...

Great story - I like your point of view on exceptional children. It just cracked me up that Big Red's mom was all puzzled by his sudden fame!

moplans said...

Casey this is just lovely. Thank you for sharing this with us and for showing your daughter and others how we should all be carrying ourselves through this world.

Rachel said...

Hi Ben and Bennie, Nice to 'meet' you.
Casey, you are fabulous.
You and The Moosh.
There should be more of you in the world, it would be a more glorious place.
This was simply beautiful.

Anonymous said...

I can't think of a more tender tribute. Great job, Casey!
And great Mom/daughter experience. How neat.

Adrienne said...

Casey you have a way of bringing out the "honest" in everyone. Now stop making me cry and let's get back to the funny.

Nice to meet you Ben and Bennie, I hope we will become fast friends.

SciFi Dad said...

Nicely done, Casey. It'll probably take weeks to get rid of the lilac and lavender smell in here now.

And nice to meet you, Ben and Bennie.

Mary Beth said...

I think it's wonderful that you are teaching your daughter to really see everyone and not gloss over those who are different. And in doing so, teaching us all a little humanity. As always, great job Casey!

Ali said...

oh...i love this!
i am always nervous that i'm going to say the wrong thing in these situations...but you seem to have done the PERFECT thing! ;)

Anissa Mayhew said...

Leave it up to Casey to get all emo on you! That was sweet beyond words though, and a great reminder that by choosing to do nothing, you give nothing.

Rhea said...

What a sweet letter! It's so nice to meet you, Ben and Bennie. This was a wonderful tribute!

Unknown said...

Love you Ben! Love coming your you.

Gretchen said...

Casey, that was wonderful and beautiful!! As a mother of a fellow PKS child,I'm even worried about how other people will act or react if I try and speak to them. I bend over backwards to make sure everyone who sees Simon is comfortable and asks questions. And by the way, if an adorable (or not so!) 3 year old said WHAT'S WRONG WITH HIM?? I would give the exact same answer you did. To me, it's simple, basic and makes sense!

Thanks Casey--and Bennie for inviting my 3 favorite ladies to blog!