07/10/2014 09:14 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Your Tears Mean the World to Me

Sweet Grace. I saw that. You watched as Kate sat beside a little girl and the girl moved quickly away. Likely, she was fearful of a bite or the confusing way Kate speaks. Either way, it crushed you. Kate didn't notice her little friend maneuver quickly away; one of the rare perks of autism, I guess. She wasn't the least bit affected. You were, though. I saw it in the way you cast your eyes down so the little girl would not see the tears in your eyes. I saw it in the way you stopped coloring and instead stared at your page and twirled your hair. I saw it in the way you glanced to me to see if I saw the interaction.


I smiled at you because I wanted you to know that it was OK and because your tears made my heart burst with pride. There was no malice in that little girl's heart when she moved away from our Kate. She may have been unsure and afraid of how to interact with a little girl with autism. She may have even received a bite or a pinch from our girl at one time.

This is where you and I come in, Grace. We are going to teach people how to adore Kate as much as we do. We are going to teach people how to understand the way Kate tells you something with her actions when she cannot produce the words. We are going to teach people that being different can be wonderful and exciting and scary, too. We are going to do that for Kate because of everything she has done for us.

Remember when Kate gave you her turtle, Michelangelo, when you were crying because you were afraid to get on the school bus for the first time? Remember when Kate offered you her popcorn when you dropped your whole kids' pack at the movie theater? Remember when you cried your little heart out because Kate sobbed when she had her first haircut?

Do you see how tears can sometimes mean something wonderful? The tears you shed that day made me smile, not because I wanted to see you sad, but because I can see that Kate means everything to you -- and that means everything to me.

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