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The Handwriting On The Wall

February 18, 2011

by Sarena James


I will never forget the look of orange chalk on the black wall and his four-year old handwritten letters unmistakably spelling out, GRANT JAMES.

Spaghetti and Spinach, that’s what we were having for dinner and I had just finished chopping vegetables and breaking pasta noodles. The littlest one was coloring with her Toy Story 3 friends, and my oldest was watching Disney. As he faithfully does, Grant made his rounds through the kitchen supervising the progress of dinner; his job is setting the table with plates and utensils. Perhaps sensing that dinner was still far off, he searched for something else to do.

A nine-foot high chalkboard wall uniquely frames one side of our kitchen. It is the yes wall; yes, you may write on this wall, yes, you may be endlessly creative, and yes, you will clean it bi-weekly.  I turned to open the refrigerator door and saw his left-hand do something I’d not seen before… he, without hesitation, was clearly writing his name.

Time and I stood still watching the bright sOnray on a black powdered sky.  I cried and it had nothing to do with the diced onions in my hand.  I cried because the fountain of knowledge in his being had just overflowed and I was an eye-witness.  I cried for all the information I know is inside of him trying to find its way out. I wonder just how much he knows.

Though hours have now passed, the moment remains new and awe-mazing to me still. All of his effort led up to this effortless moment in which he freely wrote what he knew; he knew his name. I remember his early frustration with pre-writing strokes and holding oversized crayons to paper long enough to make recognizable shapes, letters and numbers.  One day he was highly flustered about writing the number ‘5’,  I suggested he return to something more comfortable like writing numbers 0-4, and 6-10. His teary-eyed beautiful brown eyes looked at me and he shouted, “IVE(5)!”  

In yet another life-changing moment I realized my son wasn’t looking for the easy way out.  He was looking to learn it and conquer it, and no matter how long it took, eventually he would get it; and he did just that.  

Amazing what a teachable spirit can learn, and I have learned so much from him.

I breathe in these scattered yet frequent moments as they give perfect hope. It’s like watering a plant and nurturing its soil so that it gets everything it needs to grow well. By the time we see and celebrate the beauty of the bloom, tremendous growth has already taken place deep inside.

Indeed, the handwriting is on the wall and it points to a brighter day…

6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 19, 2011 11:11 am

    What a precious moment! I am so glad you were present and got to witness it! These are the moments we have to focus on when the inevitable bad days come!

    • June 26, 2011 5:48 pm

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  2. February 20, 2011 11:03 am

    What an inspiring story. God is so faithful and gracious. His love for us is so amazing. He is such a great, big God who spoke the universe into being. He calls the stars by name. He’s everywhere at the same time and yet He makes it a priority to let each one of us know how much He loves us and how important we are to Him. He knows the number of hairs on our heads! I know that God has great things in store for Grant and the James family. I believe that this latest miracle–as great and awesome as it is– is but a preview into the awesome future God has planned for Grant. God has given Grant such awesome, loving, patient and caring parents. Their faith is relentless and they have been endowed with the ability and fortitude to stay on course. You go Grant! God is with you!

  3. Allison Coggins permalink
    February 19, 2011 3:17 pm

    What a great story! Grant may just start telling us how he really feels through his written words- followed by his spoken words that are sooo close to coming:) Since Deronda mentioned “Hallelujah” – I have to share my story. It was one of the first words I heard come from his sweet 3 year old mouth. Playing in the block center and minding his own business- he just blurted it out as if no one was listening. I looked at my assistant and she looked at me and we said together “Did he just say what we think he said?” Immediately- we echoed the words back at him (yes-please don’t hold this against us for echoing these beautiful words in a public school setting). Grant looked at us with that great big James smile and he echoed the words “Hallelujah” a second time! We were amazed and continue to be amazed at all of the little stepping stones that Grant is overcoming!

  4. Kathy permalink
    February 19, 2011 10:52 am

    That is wonderful! As a mother of a child with autism, I know exactly what you mean. My son was about the same age and was amazing at remembering telephone numbers. For some reason, he always left the “4” out of my mother’s home number. We practiced and practiced until he had it down. Of course, being a proud mother, I had him show off this skill to his grandmother. He recited the digits…once again, leaving out the four. I was deflated. Then he looked at me with a huge grin and said, “I don’t want to say the four!” The kid completely outsmarted me!

    Prepare to be amazed! God Bless!

  5. Deronda Corbin permalink
    February 18, 2011 11:39 am

    Simply amazing Sarena!! Grant is growing and learning more and more every day. I just can’t wait until he writes that wonderful 4 syllable word on the board! Hallelujah!
    Way to go Grant!!!!

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