Starry Night and Bailey

The first time I saw Bailey, I knew I was in love.

She wore purple leggings and a white, sparkly sweater.  Her little tan boots were embellished with fringe in a Native American style.  She had dark brown eyes.  Her mother had styled her full and lush hair into perfect ponytails.  Purple bows were attached to each one.  Truly, she was an adorable five-year-old!

I was picking Camren up from school that day--the day I first saw her.  I walked into the brightly lit and happily decorated classroom and scanned the squatty tables for Camren.  I watched as Bailey excitedly ran towards him and yelled, "Camren!  Camren!  Do you want to meet my baby brother?!"

I saw a baby boy--comparable to Bridget's age--toddling towards Bailey.  Camren stretched out his hand and tenderly patted him on the head.  "He's so cute," replied Cam in a high-pitched voice!  Bailey giggled, Cam grinned.  It was the sweetest thing.

I've learned a lot about Bailey since that day.  I've learned she often runs to greet Cam when James drops him off in the morning.  I've learned she leaves letters and hand-drawn pictures in Cam's cubby for him.  She's always happy to see him.  She wanted to stand beside him in the class winter program.  (They were the only two who jumped and danced during the performance of "Jingle Bells!")

Bailey doesn't mind that Camren doesn't speak well.  His quirks and idiosyncrasies don't bother her.  Young children are so beautifully innocent and unconditionally loving like that!  Bailey doesn't see Cam's learning disabilities, his sensory seeking behaviors, his Asperger's, or his social struggles.  She just sees HIM.  She sees her friend.

Vincent Van Gogh was a brilliant and notable Post-Impressionist painter.  His works are among the world's most expensive paintings ever sold at auction and in private sales.  They are known for their emotional honesty; "Starry Night" being the artist's depiction of how a night sky feels.  Van Gogh's paintings are known for their bold colors, and according to one art critic, "their rough beauty."

(Rough beauty.  I love that.  Like children with special needs.  Challenging.  Abrasive.  Bright.  Beautiful.)

And it was Van Gogh who once wrote, "Close friends are truly life's treasures.  Sometimes they know us better than we know ourselves.  With gentle honesty, they are there to guide and support us, to share our laughter and our tears.  Their presence reminds us that we are never really alone."

As 2014 closes, I think about the people in my life and the relationships I have established.  My heart sings with an honest love of people, and my lips whisper prayers of gratitude for friendship.  The type of friendship Van Gogh wrote about--one that stretches beyond the standard and becomes a gift, a blessing, a miracle, a treasure.


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