A Balanced View

When writing about Emma I am often struck by how other people view what we write.   “She sounds just like my four year old,” is something I have heard more than once.   We walk a fine line of not wanting to exaggerate the tiny steps of progress she makes, with the desire to write honestly about her life as we witness and interact with it.

For example if I write of how Emma is now sleeping through the night, only very occasionally wetting her bed, hasn’t worn a diaper since June 9th, 2010, is verbally more precocious, is displaying wonderful eye contact more and more frequently, seems to understand more, has an increased interest in being read to, tolerates more situations with increasing ease, it sounds almost miraculous.  And in many ways it is.

If I then give a detailed description of a day spent with her – such as yesterday when we went not only to the Bronx zoo, but to a nearby playground afterward – describe how she never once acknowledged the hundreds of children around her, much less exchanged eye contact or words, all the while carrying a two foot long stick which she refused to release even when on the monkey bars, her utterances, her overall deficiencies appear glaring.  If I insist then on adding how she attempted to sit opposite us on the subway, made odd whooping noises and whenever the doors to the subway closed with the accompanying ding-dong sound, Emma cheerfully sang, “Gank – You!” replicating the exact tone of the warning sound indicating all passengers needed to get inside the subway before it left the station, one is left with a very different sense of who she is.  Yet both would be accurate and correct.

A balanced view is the goal of this blog.  Neither an exaggerated version of her abilities nor deficits is what we endeavor.  The trouble is, it isn’t always easy.  Given a mood, a less than ideal night with too little sleep, work stresses, marital stresses, all effect how Emma comes across on paper.  There’s no way to really portray her with all her idiosyncrasies without it seeming somehow off.  I read past posts and barely recognize her or us, for that matter.  The edges are smoothed the disagreements remain just that and not the melodramas they can feel to those intimately involved.  Perhaps it is a positive thing.  In the end we are the stories we tell, we become the edited versions we choose or in this case we choose to tell for Emma.  Who knows what she would say, were she able to.  Perhaps one day she will be able to do so and will choose to.  My guess is it will be a very different story than the one we are telling.

6 responses to “A Balanced View

  1. Paula from Aspen

    “We are the stories we tell, we become the edited versions we choose to tell..” How wise, how true. I have always loved stories and story-telling, perhaps because I always loved reading. Now I apply the same view to reading, teaching and leading Bible study groups. The Bible is unimportant to anyone who has not made it their own. By that I mean that one has to apply its stories, and that’s what they are and what makes them enduring, to one’s own life. I am about to launch into a new study group and our first topic will be stories about angels. Where are the angels in the biblical stories? or in each of our lives? You and Emma are my angels for today. Your message to me is how to live a life of meaning, a life worth living, a life that leaves something of value behind.

  2. Kathy Stamatelakis

    I just love reading your stories about Emma.I believe you are doing for Emma the best. Stimming is beneficial because it serves as a friend who helps, them to balance with the world around them. She is 30 years old now and caring a rug blanket ( it was a soft brown blanket) now is a lot of strings in all kind of knots)But that always serves for years the soft and smelly friend she sems to smell it too and never allowed me to wash it who help her to face the up and downs.Kathy Stamatelakis

  3. Pingback: The Messiness of Blogging | Emma's Hope Book

  4. Good article. I absolutely love this site. Continue the good work!

  5. Hi! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone 3gs!
    Just wanted to say I love reading through your
    blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the
    fantastic work!

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