All posts by bearfamily4

About bearfamily4

"Goldi" is my autistic daughter. She gets her nickname from the story Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Not only does she have golden hair but with it her autism begs for things to be just right. This is her way.

Not normal but new

Summer’s sentimental  air lends itself to reflection. The sun’s warmth is a sweet compliment to memory building days of swimming in pools, bike rides,ice cream cones, and never ending play. Summer gives way to school, and is nearly over for Goldi. So I’ve looked into a mirror of days past, and wandered into the “what will be”.

In the sparkling waters of a swimming pool, Goldi held her breath and let the wavy water blanket her. She kicked and floated and blew bubbles.

“I saw the bottom, it’s blue!” she said popping up to the top.

Hesitation no longer crippled her. The ripples of her splash stretched as far as the pool’s width and the waves took a long while to calm.

She’s older now and those her age have aged more. They know that pink and orange clash. They are playing with their rip sticks and not their princesses. Will she be as free to make her own splash? How will she deal with the poison of some bully or one who turns up their nose at her quirkiness?

“Mom! Watch me again. I am going to be underwater the whole way!” Goldi announces.

I watch with anticipation. Goldi swims the whole length of the pool underwater.

There is a new trail that winds itself through the quiet of the woods. A hush allows us to hear the sizzle of the tires on wisps of dirt. It allows for Goldi to stretch out her hand and brush the low branches of leaves as she breezes by.

“Goldi lead the way this time!” her dad invites.

Goldi takes first place. She looks from right to left at the first cross street. She waits and double looks.

“All clear! Let’s go!” She calls out.

Sometimes, her peers instruct like a momma. They stoop down and use their little kid voice:
“It’s your turn. You have to do it like this. Be careful. ”

Will she know to pause and think on her own before she acts?

Goldi pedals onward and comes to the next crosswalk.
“Go ahead!” her father says.
“Not yet Dad,” she says back.
A car storms through unexpectedly.

Laziness is at its best while licking ice cream cone on the front porch. In the shade and in everyday view of summer, we lick, question, talk, and listen to the breeze. We wait for the hummingbird to surprise us. Sometimes he comes and sometimes he is elsewhere. We are content no matter.

“Mom, this time I want a mint chocolate chip ice cream cone”. Goldi requests.
My scooper shakes with excitement.

“You mean you don’t want vanilla?” I confirm.

“Nope! I want mint chocolate chip please.” She insists.

The humming bird comes right to the kitchen window and nods.
I become more than content. I am elated.

Summer eating has turned feasting. New on Goldi’s menu is hamburgers, cheeseburgers, roast beef, grilled cheese, smoothies, spaghetti with sauce, and mint chocolate chip ice cream.
Will she know the pleasures of the new? Will she take the risk of trying even though uncertain? So much new ahead as adolescence rounds the corner and Goldi stays in the wing of little girl.

“I’ll help cook dinner.” Goldi announces wearing her pink apron.
“We need to peel some carrots and crack some eggs.” I tell her.

Goldi glides the peeler with ease and allows the slippery ooze to tickle her fingers. New has never felt so wonderful for her.

When the neighborhood wakes up, Goldi dashes off to knock on doors.
She approaches even the big tall, booming voice fathers and asks: “Is she home? Can she play?”

Even in the disappointment of decline, she realizes there is a second chance. There is a hope stemmed from forever play days passed.

But my poison is worry. Worry is a like a sword, piercing my hope with future rejection from these same playable neighbors and others sure to meet her autism. Will she initiate friendship? Will she find those that genuinely cherish her friendship? Will their discipline, poise, and maturity drift them far apart from Goldi’s childlike manner, naivety, and innocence?

“Mom, they can ‘t play right now. Maribelle has karate and Jane and Suzie are in the middle of a checkers game. ” Goldi says softly.

Right now passes quickly and there are three knocking at the door.
Right now they are eager to play. Even if it is with a Barbie Glamour pool filled with water and complete with miniature water slide. So I shelf the worry and relish in the right now.

Summer reflection has turned to a realized hope. While the “what will be” days will be tainted with the quirky, jumpy, hand flapping, immaturity of Goldi’s autism, there is a newness that will one day overshadow it and the only thing seen will be the glory of God.

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? Isaiah 43:19

Admission but Anonymous about Autism

In April there were sunny, warm, and waking up kind of blue skies days.  It seems like all winter the sky was so sleepy and lifeless and then it lit up blue just in time for April.

I admit all April I wasn’t so lit up. There was a battle in me between what I was supposed to do- spread awareness by wearing my blue shirt or dying my hair blue, or posting articles about its reality, and do what I wanted to do- just ignore it and live in the fantasy of normalcy.

Then something blue arrived home in Goldi’s brother’s school folder.

“We are Lighting it up blue” the note said.

We will be talking , sharing, and reading about autism this month.

Wear your blue on Thursday. ”

A wave of excitement spread over me.

“You should write something!” I said to my son.

“You could write about what it is like to have a sister with autism. ”

Goldi’s brother immediately scrunched up his eyebrows and said “No way! That would be WAY to embarrassing!”

Here was my chance to be the best “Light it up blue” parent.  The chance to give my Patrick Henry speech, my Patriotic Glory Glory Hallelujah music playing in the background to impress on him that we can make a difference!

“You are an amazing brother of someone who is autistic. You should share what it is like and how you feel and people will know…”

“Know what? my son interjects “That my sister is weird? That she says things that makes no sense sometimes. That she hits me for no reason?  That is not something to write about!”

“Please,” I begged. “It would be so great. I would be so proud. and besides everyone will think you are pretty cool. ”

“No they won’t” he screams with tears flowing down. “Please, do I really have to do this?”

The Patriotic music stopped. I sighed and cried myself. My own son did not want to admit that his sister had autism. He wasn’t at all ready to join in the mission to spread awareness.

“Maybe now isn’t the time.” interjects my husband.

“Son, ” I whispered solemnly, “Write whatever you want.”

He took out his weekly school journal. The one he has to read every week in front of the whole class. I watched him write probably about some basketball game or some play date,  and shrugged my shoulders.

I made intentional escape from this piercing reality of disappointment by joining Goldi in watching a cartoon on Youtube.

His closed journal caught my eye, laying there on the island counter. My son was nowhere in sight. I thumbed through the pages to find his new fresh entry.   This contained the pages of the history of his life told through his eyes. Here the pages revealed all that was important to this seven year old boy. I found the ink written page still clean and crisp.

Fun Things with Sister

My sister and I like to go to Sky Zone.

My sister and I liked the movie Finding Dory.

My sister and I like to go swimming.

My sister and I like to race our scooters.

My sister and I like to play Uno.

My sister was born with autism.

“Well, are you proud of me? ” my son asks catching me in the act.

I hesitated and pondered the simplicity of his message and yet it’s depth.  Scooters, and swimming, and Uno, and jumping, and movies, and………a sister named Goldi. Fun before autism. Fun with Goldi despite autism. Life as it is to this young seven year old.

“I’d say you are a real Patrick Henry!” I said drawing him close.

2 Timothy 1:7

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Goldi gets a life

“Mom, hold out your hand and close your eyes.” Goldi commands.

“Why?” I ask

“Just be still!” she says impatiently.

Goldi ‘s finger tips tickle my palm.

I muster up a meaningful guess.

“Water!’ I said with opened eyes.

“That’s right! ” Goldi says clapping her hands.

Goldi met Helen Keller recently.  Movies, books, and pictures have led to many hand spellings and questions.

“How can she spell so fast? Did you know that Alexander Graham Bell was her friend and HE invented the telephone and did she swim in a pool? Goldi asks without pause.

I google for answers.
“Yes, she did go swimming!” I answer. ” She could not see, she could not hear. But she had a real life, an exciting one.

Goldi’s eyes brighten and sparkle as if she could see a once far off dream now within close reach. Now that Goldi has met Helen,  autism waits last in line behind them all.

” I want to be on the stage. Or maybe I want to be a puppet lady and do shows for kids. I want to be a teacher or a piano player. ” Goldi peppers out.

” Sounds  really exciting.” I say smiling.

For awhile, we were enthralled. Our talk centered on all things Helen. We were captivated with all the things she could do and easily forgot about the two big things she couldn’t.  A videos of her talking brought many wows. Google and youtube fed our fascinations.  In Goldi’s eyes, the sky was the limit for a really exciting life all because of our hero, Helen.

But then, reading on Google , I found a word. A word nearly synonymous with Helen Keller and even……  Hitler!  It was a hateful, awful, sinful word– EUGENIC- it means to improve human population with a superior gene creating a superior human race. It means to wipe out that which is inferior or defective.  Helen herself said: allowing  a “defective” child to die was simply a “weeding of the human garden that shows a sincere love of true life.”  Everything came to a thud.

Helen the hero turned brute! Brute because my autistic child, who flaps when she is excited or nervous, who speaks in echolalia when she is sad or worried, who won’t pet a fluffy kitty cat, who has trouble learning simple addition facts,  who to this day can’t survive a drive through a car wash without a scream.  My child -who makes a mess while she eats, who speaks loudly and expressively at the crack of dawn, who takes a bit to calm down when wrong has entered her life, my child whose brain works hard to keep up with the rest of the “superiors”,  My child is…. not….normal! Therefore according to Helen, my child is “defective” and not worthy of a really exciting life or any life at all!  Unbearable!  Helen the hero turned villain!

“Mom, I want to see the Helen Keller Movie again!” Goldi requests.

I am tongue tied. A hard rock pressed against my heart. Her innocence only knows Helen as hero.

I bury this dreadful secret and say “Would you play some some music for me instead?”

Goldi willingly bounces into the living room and props herself up at the piano as if ready for a concert performance. She confidently and enthusiastically plays.

For a moment I close my eyes and with faith and hope strain to see a dream for Goldi.   She begins playing Happy Birthday. I see her standing in a garden of flowers galore.  There are more colors of flowers than in a rainbow. The sun is shining down making Goldi’s hair glow. The flowers are swaying and smiling as Goldi pours a gentle shower on each bloom.  A garden of life and Goldi stands in it.  Goldi stands up and takes a bow. Her face beams as she looks up. I clap my hands until they itch.

“I did it!” she says. “I can play all the songs in my book!” She proudly announces. In our open living room with good acoustics – perhaps the whole world heard.

“Yes! I say, “That is really exciting!”

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:14

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

Peer to Peer

In my second grade, there was a boy named Michael. He had fogged up glasses sliding down his runny nose. He didn’t walk or stride ….he hobbled like a baby taking his first steps.   You knew he was coming near when you heard a tip toe sound.  When Michael saw girls, he puckered up his lips and gave air kisses. We stayed clear of Michael.

One sunny recess, some friends and  I were running around on perfect spring day. The scatterings of dandelions was like sunshine that had rained down from the sky.  Then there he was.

“Well, Well …what ….DO we have here?” Michael  said in his sly little voice.  “One…..two…. three…. four girls.”

“EEEK! ” we screamed.

“It’s Michael,  let’s get out of here.” I shouted.

But one of us didn’t turn to run.  She picked up a dandelion and bravely walked close enough to rub that yellow staining flower under his chin.

“Do you like butter?” my friend asked Michael.

“Yes, on toast, pancakes, and waffles.” Michael answered.

“Good! Because here’s some!” yelled my friend.

We joined in and grabbed  handfuls of dandelions rubbing his cheeks, forehead,  and hands…. . Michael looked like he had splattered himself with mustard.

Then we all gathered around pelting him in the face causing him to fall to the ground.

“Stop that now!” yelled a booming voice. “You girls should be ashamed!”

The man reached his hand out to Michael and pulled him up. Michael immediately embraced him. We knew that man must have been Michael’s father. The bell rang and together with hands over shoulder, they turned and walked back to the school

As the rest of the swarm of kids raced to the line up, we stood frozen in shame.

Goldi and I were standing out in another field one not so springy day. We huddled close together as the winter wind haunted the promise that spring had really arrived.  A school field trip had brought us outside to a certain horse farm.

Goldi watched with bright eyes as kids took turns taking a ride around the huge arena. She flapped and jumped when some she called “Friend” rode with ease. She hobbled along the bumpy ground and nearly stepped into  a pile of  manure.

It was the first year of Goldi’s involvement in her school’s peer to peer program. It was one of the first times I had seen interactions between my own quirky one and those more   “typical”.

“That was so fun!” said a girl to Goldi who had just taken her turn on a horse.

“Don’t you want to try?” invited another.

“NO!” shrieked Goldi

“We will take our turn soon.” I said.

“No mom!  Goldi said loudly yanking my arm.

Blank stares from Goldi’s peers seemed pressed against her full display of quirkiness.

Many  walked away.” She’s got autism” I read from their shrugged shoulders.

As soon as Goldi had taken her place on  Chloe the horse, and rode all the way around the perimeter of the arena, I heard not teasing nor laughing but ….clapping and cheering from  her PEERS.  I looked down to the grass to hide my tears. Face down ,  I noticed a a clump of dandelions. It was like sunshine rained down.

I know now that  Michael’s quirkiness was autism and as peers to Michael we were  staying in our own “I am better than you world.”   Goldi’s autism invites the same response we gave to Michael. Only her peers are learning to realize she is a part of their world.

I wish I could see Michael today . I would offer him a fresh bouquet of dandelions in a vase tied in a gold ribbon. Make that two bouquets. I really need a big one for Goldi’s peers.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Philippians 2:3

And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:8

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Pie Thanksgiving

Plop goes the flour into the silver bowl.

“Let’s do a play mom!” says Goldi “It’s almost Thanksgiving!”

SHHHH  goes the melted butter.

“I know, I am making the pumpkin pie!”

“Pumpkin Pie!” Goldi says those words like it’s Christmas. “Okay, you be the mom Pilgrim and I will be the Little Girl Pilgrim.”

“Okay, but I also have to make this pumpkin pie. ”

“That’s perfect.” she says as she jumps and flaps her hands.

“Let me introduce it. ” She says clearing her throat.  She stand in the middle of the room. “Ladies and Gentlemen Boys and Girls, we will  now tell you the story of the First Pumpkin Pie.

Impromptu plays right in the middle of life’s events is a norm in our house. Yet, right in that moment I was slow to act. My mind had to rehearse how to thread it all together:the Pilgrims leaving their homeland for freedom to worship and pray, the long journey on the Mayflower, meeting  and befriending people of a totally different walk of life,  working the land, suffering, and then a Vivaldi’s  Spring announcement of planting and growing, ending in a bountiful harvest and a feast where people of two different races and faiths, sat down, ate, and played together not just for one day but three! All on the day of the First Pumpkin Pie.

This was more than a just a little play time.  It was a teachable moment. The reason for the   Day of Thanksgiving to really sink in and develop into a deep understanding. A play always does the trick with Goldi. It gives her a chance to live and breath life’s learning. Sometimes, it is the only way.

“Once there were some….” she pauses a bit and looks at me as I finish measuring the filling ingredients. “What were those people called again? ” she asks.

“Pilgrims. ” I answer as I stir.

“Yes, Pilgrims. They were about to take a long trip on the Mayflower. ”

Goldi changes her Narrator voice into a Pilgrim Girl:

“Come on Mom! The Mayflower will be here any minute.”

“I am almost ready dear. ” Says me the Pilgrim Mom “Did you pack your trunk?”

“Yes, I have my clothes, food, and my toothbrush. ” Pilgrim Goldi says.

“Good. Now all we need to do is grab the seeds.”

“Seeds? Whatever for mother?” she says.

” When we get to the new land, we will have a new home. So we need to have food. ”

“But what about the Pumpkin Pie mom!”

Being  history dunce, I can’t draw from many known facts about Thanksgiving.  Pumpkin pie had to be eaten. IT was the perfect time of harvesting this vegetable. But did they have enough eggs, condensed milk, flour, and the perfect open hearth oven to make it? Did they have the spices? For Goldi, pumpkin pie is synonymous with  Thanksgiving.Just the way it is with me.

“We will one day child. When we get to the new land we can run free and worship the God we love. We will build a new home. We will grow food. We will have a new life. ” I say. After such words, I find myself really sounding Pilgrim. So serious, determined, and ambitious.

“But how are we ever going to do all that? “Pilgrim Goldi says. She too is sounding her Pilgrim part. Curious, anxious, and ready.

As I pour the filling into the easy pie crust, ( no shortening melted butter- the kind you press in and not the kind you roll out) Goldi busies herself with building a house, a fire, and planting the seeds. She hurries over to me and wipes her forehead.

“I think all the work is done mom. Now can we have our Pumpkin Pie?”

“Soon child. But first we have to wait for the pumpkin to grow. It should be ready after the winter snows melt. “

“You mean we have to wait all that time?! Pilgrim Goldi says stomping her feet.

At that moment, the smell of a real pumpkin pie baking is what we breathe in.  Tasting time was two or three hours away. The wait of the Pilgrims was just not in her grasp nor mine.  I can’t imagine that first winter when the Pilgrims were cold and sick. When the draft of a winter wind battled their small little fire on the hearth. The wait for spring was all to unbearable. And meeting that first Indian all brown and unknown. Yet so much they knew that could help.  And the wait for the Pumpkin Pie. That first slice- it was a winter, spring, and labor intensive garden growing everything  first before tasting time away.

 “No worries. ” I tell her.

Goldi jumps into a narration and my ears tune in:

“And so the Pilgrims worked hard for a long time. They had some special friends called the Indians to help them. They knew the pumpkin pie would not be ready until the work was done. And when it was ready, they all sat down and held hands to say a prayer and then when they ate it …. they said “This is the best pie ever! Happy Thanksgiving everyone. “

THE END

Planting the seeds, working the land, waiting for rain and sun to grow the crops. Waiting for the winter winds to blow past.Waiting for what looked foe to turn friend. Waiting and accepting the kind of life that would unfold.  Waiting with prayer for God’s protection and provision. Celebrating His goodness and thanking Him.  This was the Pumpkin Pie Pilgrim Story.

Working on social skills, anxieties, building friendships, and  ….faith.Planting the seeds through lessons, social stories, and .. plays like this one.  Waiting for understanding of the why and how. Waiting for the seasons of stress and hardship to blow past.  Celebrating the successes of her growth, her maturity, and her gifts.  This is Goldi’s Pumpkin Pie Story. All for that moment of  slice of pumpkin  pie- dabbled with a little whipped cream.

That first pumpkin pie served on the first Thanksgiving must have tasted like a piece of heaven.  The verdict still stands on the pie this Thanksgiving.Regardless,  I know Goldi is ready to celebrate.

Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things. (Psalm 107:8-9 ESV)

Scaredy Cat

Image result for picture of cat

Goldi stepped  into the old brick house  and the floor creaked.

‘Is there someone there?” called out a crackly voice.

“Grandma! It’s me! cried Goldi.

Grandma holds Goldi’s face long enough to see her grand daughter’s  bright twinkling eyes.

“There you are!” she says cheerily.

Goldi eyeballs the living room like a search light.

“Is he here?”

“Who?” wonders Grandma.

“Benny!”

“Oh, he sleeps just about all day in there by the window. ” Grandma says pointing.

Goldi peers through a closed door and sighs.

Grandma begins rocking  by the large window that displays the whole world and stares hard out into it.

“You know, I had a little kitty when I was young. His name was Stripey. ”

“Is he going to wake up?” Goldi asks with concern.

“Who?”asks Grandma.

“I am still talking about Benny!” Goldi emphasizes.

“Oh, he sleeps just about all day in there by the window. ” Grandma says again pointing.

“You know I used to have a little Kitty when I was young,”

I sigh and hold onto all my wonders.

Why can’t she remember five minutes ago? How long until she can’t remember us? Did Stripey sleep all day by the window too? 

After some silent rocks, Grandma stands up: “I’ll just check on Benny.”

Goldi jumps onto my lap and presses herself against my chest.

“I am afraid mom.”she cries softly.

I am torn between holding her tight and letting go.

Grandma appears holding Benny tightly in her arms.

“He’s not used to people. ”

Goldi’s quick heart beats make her chest pop in and out.  Grandma caressed Benny with gentle strokes and “there, there” whispers.

“It’s getting serious,” I hear in a low toned whisper. At the kitchen table, Goldi’s dad has put his arm around Grandpa’s tired sigh.

As a forever silence stilled everything. I journeyed in my mind through all the twists and turns to this moment. Grandma’ s memory loss was now tied to that A- word. Goldi ‘s fear of cats was another reminder of another A- word.  And then there is Benny . The cause of jitters for one autistic child, the source of comfort for one with Alzheimer’s, curled up, calm, and nearly asleep.

Goldi finally breathes easy. Easy enough to cause her hand to slowly reach towards Benny.

“Is he soft?” she asks Grandma

“Oh, very !” Grandma replies.

Goldi’s hand trembles inches away from Benny’s back. As soon as a few soft hairs touch her and Goldi jerks away.

Benny jumps from Grandma’s lap and races into the bedroom.

“Oh dear!” cries Grandma scurrying after him.

Goldi  cries. “It’s just me!”

Then Grandma comes back carrying Benny.

“He’s just not used to people,” Grandma says, “There, there Benny, there there.”

Grandma’s heart beat makes her chest pop in and out.  Benny is calmed by her stroking and soon Grandma rocks and sighs.

“Poor Benny, don’t be scared.” Goldi whispers.

The room’s stillness  is filled with anxiousness that desperately needs a calm filled hope. If only Grandma could remember her story. If only Goldi could calmly be around a perfectly safe cat. If only there were a cure for Alzheimer’s and Autism.

Then in the stillness, it is Goldi that makes the first move. She reaches with an “I know what to do” reach. Then in her hand, she is holding a book about a Lion.

“Benny, this is about a cat like you only much bigger. ”  Goldi tells him gently.

“One day, ” she begins to read ” A lion went to the library. ”

The pace of her reading is as smooth as Grandma’s caressing. Goldi pauses and looks up at Grandma. Benny does not stir.

“He walked right past the circal-” Goldi stops.

“Oh, that word is “Circulation.” Grandma says in a teacher confident voice.

Scared of a cat. Scared of the unknown. Scared of even the familiar.  Goldi, Grandma, and Benny sat in a stillness that was more than just a calm. It seemed at that moment a perfect peace.

“The end” whispers Goldi closing the book.

Benny is sleeping pressed against Grandma. Grandma’s shoulder is pressed against Goldi’s. Goldi’s head lays on Grandma’s shoulder.

Then, Goldi reaches out to pet Benny just like Grandma.

“There There, Benny.” Goldi whispers.

Philipians 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

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Goldi’s locks

With every reading  of  Goldilocks and the Three Bears, I have transitioned from a sweet little pleasure to a scratching of nails on a chalkboard. I never thought I would admit such a detestable feeling for a fairy tale. They have always stolen a piece of my heart. Then came Goldi’s obsession with the story.

I’ve read it. She’s read it. She’s watched the play. She’s performed it. All of the above on endless rewind. It’s her story.

The Goldilocks in all the stories show the look, but Dom Deluise’s girl is the real mackoy. Her long hair is golden, curly, and thick.  “It really got your attention.”

It caught our attention that our Goldi, wasn’t born  olive skinned, brown eyed, and with curly black tresses. All the features of her mother’s dominant genes. When I introduced her to any audience for the first time, the reaction was “Oh!”

As in “Oh, I didn’t expect blue eyes. Oh, I didn’t expect fair skin and “Oh! Is that blond hair I see? ”

Must I show paperwork proving her biological connection? There was no hospital mix up.  And the nickname Goldi didn’t just come to mind because of looks.

It came because combing her hair was too “ouchy” and involves pinning her to the ground. The minute “too scratchy”  polka dot bow touches her hair with “girly”it is yanked out succinct with a photo click.  I have to cut off every clothes tag,  thus “winging it” when washing. “Goldi” because  foods were too stinky or too sticky.  Noise was too loud.  Her appearance was just a hint of who she was and what would make daily things a challenge…………….

Like …….getting ready for school.

I act as maid in waiting for our Goldi and consider her line up of  cute dresses and tops. I lay out a perfectly matched ensemble that would make Fancy Nancy pleased.

Goldi bounces into her morning with wrinkled pajamas that have warmed her all night.  She eyeballs the required costume for the transformation of Rag Doll to Princess.   I wait for her to show herself presentable.

“Tada!” she appears with a beaming face.

Crowned with bedhead, her turtleneck seam aligns with her chin. Her two toned  pink socks are smashed up against her green striped pant ends. The turtleneck is hot pink with purple dots, and her pants are green striped. Not at all the cute little Goldilocks walking through the forest in her puffed sleeved dress. More like Pippi Longstocking.

I eyeball her accomplishment and flashback many years ago…..

“Tada!”  I  said with excitement. I was wearing my brand new bathing suit for the first time at the beach.  I felt like a bathing beauty ready to run over the pillowy sand into the sparkling waves. …… My suit was on backwards. My brothers’ HA HAS rang out my immaturity. . My five year old brain puzzled  over their laughter and was saddened.   

I hear those  HA HAs  in the far off distance. I won’t have it. Not for my Goldi. I nudge toward her with  “fix it” determination and a comb. She is going to avoid social fashion faux pas if it kills me.

I touch one strand of hair and she pulls away. I  surrender and resort to just fluffing  with damp fingers through her hair.

Tada! Here she is-She’s not the Princess of Monaco. She’s our Goldi.  Blond locks, blue eyes, fair skinned,  and  backwards, mismatched clothes.

Once upon a time, there  lived a beautiful little girl with the most gorgeous blond hair you ever saw…People were always complimenting her on  how wonderful she looked because it really got your attention.  

Once upon a time, there was a young girl named Goldi. Her hair was wind combed and her clothes were mismatched. People were always whispering about her quirky look because it really got your attention.

One day Goldilocks went walking through the woods looking so cute.  

One sunny spring day, Goldi went to school wearing backwards mismatched clothes, a pink winter hat, sunglasses, and holding a Hello Kitty Umbrella.

She came upon a little cottage and knocked on the door.

“Hello? Is anyone home? “Goldilocks cried out.

Even though there was no answer, she let herself right in. Being very hungry she saw three bowls of porridge. She helped herself to the first bowl. Too hot. She tried Momma Bear’s bowl. Too cold. Then you guessed it- “Yum Yum” , she said smilingly “this soup is just right.” 

Goldi walked in parade mode right into school and down the hallway to her locker.

“Good morning!” she announces to some kids.

“Why are you wearing that winter hat? asks one classmate.

“It’s too windy,” answers Goldi.

“Why do you have an umbrella with no rain?” asks another.

“Too bright.” shares Goldi.

She stuffs everything in her locker and bangs the door shut.

Goldi nestles in her seat like a frog on a lily pad.

“Just right.” she whispers.

There are a few stares. Goldi  is unaware.

“Good morning Class!” her teacher greets. “Let’s stand and say the pledge.”

Goldi doesn’t stand, she jumps. She doesn’t gently lay her hand over her heart, she grips her shirt tightly and holds it steadfast as if her heart were really in there.   She does her best to verbalize the fancy words and their wonder,   sways back and forth to the same rhythm of the flag that dangles in front of the school.

Miraculously, sometimes Goldi does look the part. Like one Sunday morning when I suggested shiny black shoes.

“Tada!” she comes up twirling and dancing just like Shirley Temple . Whew! This time, she looks more the part.

And……..yet…… always acts the part……….

“Let’s sit in the middle.” I say as we walk into the sanctuary.

“Too crowded.”Goldi insists.

We sit in the back row. No stares or raised eyebrows there.

We stand and sing  and Goldi jumps with an excitement that cannot be contained. She folds her hands and scrunches up her entire body with head in her knees to pray. She flaps her hands when a baby gets baptized. Sermon time comes, and she listens in anticipation for one word to grab on tightly while I write a dissertation.

“Samaritan.” Goldi whispers. “The Good Samaritan is my favorite story about God.”

Someone has been eating my porridge! Someone has been sitting in my chair.

Someone has been sleeping in my bed. Well, at that moment Goldilocks woke up and was so surprised to see the three bears looking down at her that she let out a noise that startled everyone. There was a lot of screaming and yelling. 

Someone has been talking too loudly. Someone has been jumping up and down. Someone has been galloping in the school hallways. Someone has been showing up dressed in quirky. Someone has been flapping their hands. There are a lot of stares and whispers and laughs.

“Tada!” it’s our Goldi. She  could surprise anyone.

Of all the stories of Goldilocks I know, Dom Delouise’s version is one I could read again and again:

Things got a little calmer, and a little clearer. Goldilocks would visit her new friends. From time to she would eat corn muffins with honey. Bears do love honey. And the three bears did love Goldilocks. 

There’s  still a Goldilocks in a story and my own that still steals my heart.

For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7