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It’s a gray Monday after a weekend (after a week…two weeks…a whole summer of weeks) of busyness and exhaustion. We have been slowly going through some school testing with Evaline, and this morning, as I have been replying to client emails, sending out gallery links, trying to get back to editing, she has been at my side on my bed, struggling.

We’ve both been struggling. What should be a simple task, read a question, she fills in a circle, and then move along, has become an exercise in patience…and in trying to understand just how her mind interprets EVERYTHING, in it’s own unique way.

In a very simple short story about a bird, stalking a beetle who was on a stone, she’s asked why a bird was watching the stone.

She chooses, “because the bird was tired of swimming and wanted to rest on the stone.”

When I ask her why she chose this, she shrugs and tells me, it’s just how she imagines how the bird would feel. 

Through the prism of her mind, the story is about the emotions, the feelings, the subtext to the actual plot.

We move on to math.

Okay, Evie, the question is asking which circus character is below the dog.

She points to the clown.

The clown that is above the dog.

She glances over and reads the disappointment in my face and quickly moves her finger around all of the circus characters.

I said, below

Oh, oh, I thought you said above. 

And I wonder, how much of her life is fighting against a perpetual Opposite Day in her brain. Up is down. Above is below. Left is right. Add is subtract.

After twenty minutes, I utter an awful, exasperated, under-my-breath, but not *quite* quiet enough, where is your brain? 

Her eyes drop to her feet and she turns away. We take a break and she walks out of my bedroom with her head down, hair covering her face.

When she comes back, her eyes are rimmed with tears.

You broke my feelings. 

These are her words.

And I realize, in spite of how frustrating every obstacle is, I love her brain for seeing the world in so many different ways than I can, for considering the unwritten motivation of a bird on a stone, for understanding her feelings as things that can both be hurt and broken. For being wise enough to know that it’s better to talk through the hard feelings, even when there are tears and the person who normally comforts you is the one who made you cry.

Five minutes later, she’s sitting on a stool in the kitchen, eating a piece of fruit. When she catches me looking across the house at her, she puts the nectarine in her lap and holds up her signature gesture – a heart with wings.

You broke my feelings when you said that about my brain, because I’m trying my very best.

And, of course, I know that she is.

I only want to be able to say the same.




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Writer, Photographer, Wife, Mother to four rambunctious and amazing children.

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