And so this week’s moment of happiness despite the news.
Man, I really hesitated with this one. Can you handle another Moment about Olivia? When I mentioned last night that I would be writing the blog today, Olivia said, “Well, at least you know what your Moment is!” I do! But could she have waited another couple weeks before doing something Moment-able?
So a few weeks ago, Olivia received an email that she didn’t show anybody. It was through her college, and it was inviting her to join something that had the word “honor” to it. In true Livvyonian fashion, she zeroed in on that word and thought she was being offered the opportunity to take honors classes in her senior year. Which she didn’t want to do. So she ignored the email. The deadline to answer passed.
But they emailed again. They asked if she was going to do this, and they extended the deadline…for her. This time, she showed me the email. “Should I do this?” she asked.
I read it and gasped.
It wasn’t for honors classes. She was being invited to join Delta Epsilon Sigma, a very prestigious national honor society. The requirements to be invited are a very high bar, but Livvy didn’t even know she met them.
And so I explained.
“Oh…” she said.
And then she accepted the invitation. Last night, we went to her induction. And my Moment occurred, not when her name was called and she received the certificate and everyone clapped, though that was wonderful too, but a little bit earlier, when Delta Epsilon Sigma was being described.
“The women who are invited to join have to be at the very top of their class,” the advisor said.
I turned to look at Olivia. I have no idea which were wider…her eyes or her mouth. Absolute shock. Absolute disbelief. Absolute amazement.
When she could talk, she turned to me and said in a whisper, “Ohmygod!”
I write a lot about Olivia. Her brilliance, her talent, and yet her absolute…niceness. There’s no other word for it. And when you add all of this to what she had to struggle through, it’s just mind-boggling, even for those of us who were here to witness it. I always go back to that moment when I was told she was autistic. I sat in the doctor’s office, my almost 3-year old playing on the floor. Every time that doctor said something sad – she won’t talk, she won’t acknowledge you, autistic, autistic, autistic – Olivia tapped the toe on my shoe. I looked down and she looked right at me and beamed.
Don’t listen, Mama. I’m here.
And now…well, look at her.
But this goes beyond her accomplishments. It was that face of hers, when she heard that she must be at the top of her class in order to receive this invitation. She had no idea.
What she does know is that she’s a hard worker. She sees what she wants, and she goes for it. She wanted to talk, so she learned to talk, in her own way, through memorizing the scripts from the kids’ television shows and then trying to apply those words to what she wanted to say. She wanted to make music, she wanted to play the violin, and so she struggled through difficulties with sensory issues to rest that violin under her chin, feel the vibrations, but play anyway. She wanted to learn how to read, and she did. She wanted to learn how to do math, and she did. She wanted to learn to draw, and she did. She saw her parents writing, so she wrote a book. She started before she could type, laying on the floor of her bedroom, her arms and legs stimming, and dictating what she wanted to say. We typed faithfully. We still have those early stories.
She wanted to go to college. And despite her Early Childhood teacher saying, “Well, we can always dream,” when I told her that we fully expected Olivia to go to college and live a full life, Olivia is doing exactly that.
You know that phrase, “She believed she could, so she did”? I swear it was written for Olivia. And we believed too.
But the thing is, despite all the cheering, she is still amazed when she achieves.
One of the most important things I can say about my daughter is that she’s nice. And right up there with it is that she’s kind. She’s compassionate.
That day in the doctor’s office, I am very, very sure she was able to comprehend what the doctor was saying about her. Yet her reaction was to comfort me. And to let me know that she wasn’t the person the doctor was describing.
Don’t listen, Mama. I’m here.
Boy, is she ever.
Please forgive me for another Moment about my daughter. But that face, that glorious face, just eclipsed the rest of my week.
And yes, that helps. Despite. Anyway.