Mr. Turtle and the Simply Good Day

November 10, 2009

When Lauren was about a year and a half, a therapist told us to get a pull-toy for her. She was working on fine motor skills and thought it would be good for Lauren to work on this at home. I remember leaving Lauren in the car with my sister-in-law while I ran into Toys-r-Us to get a pull-toy. All I could find was a plastic turtle. So, Mr. Turtle became part of our family that day. Mr. Turtle became Lauren’s best friend, her talisman, her security “turtle”. He has traveled everywhere Lauren has ever been. He has gotten us through EEG’s and long waits in doctor’s offices. He has been to school and church and every family event or holiday that we have celebrated since he joined us. He has also been an ambassador of sorts. When people don’t know what to say to Lauren – they talk about the turtle. When small children stare at her more often than not I hear them ask their mothers, “What’s she playing with?” Mr. Turtle crosses boundaries that Lauren cannot.

That reaction of children to Lauren is always an interesting one. Adults have it down pretty well. You don’t catch them staring too often. If they do speak to us it’s usually to ask Lauren’s name and then to offer a hello or comment about her hat or something benign. Once in awhile we still get the “God Bless You” or “You must be so strong.” comments. While my toes are curling I usually just smile and walk a little faster. But children are purely honest in their reactions. They don’t disguise their curiosity. They just stare. They ask their mothers about Mr. Turtle and why she’s “in that chair”. They want to know why she’s rocking back and forth and why she’s drooling. My favorite occurred last week when a little boy looked at Lauren and then at his mother and said, “Why’s she smiling?”  I could imagine an adult asking that same question with many different meanings. “How could she possibly be smiling?” “What could she have to smile about?” Is she really smiling?” But from that little boy it was simple. The first thing he noticed was Lauren’s smile, not the wheels underneath her or the plastic turtle on her twenty-four year old lap. He just wanted to know, to possibly join in with, whatever was making Lauren smile. If his mother had not shushed him and hurried away, I would have told him, “Well, Lauren is having a good day and her Mr. Turtle is along for the ride. It’s just simply a good day.”

1 comment:

  1. I am so glad you had Simply a good day!! Hope you are feeling better.