Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Friday, May 20, 2011


"When you have a handicapped child, you realize...the balance of the two sides of things...the weight of such a life and the indescribable grace that such a life offers...it's about trying to sort out why it feels so valuable, even though it might not look that way". Ian Brown, father of Walker, from the book THE BOY IN THE MOON: A Father's Journey to Understand His Extraordinary Son.

Once a week, my daughter, Mary, teaches "Special Day Classes" for children with Special Needs at a local elementary school.  She teaches music and movement to three separate classes, with kids ranging in age from kindergarten to fifth grade.

Yesterday, my husband and I attended their end-of-the-year musical program, "JUNGLE BOOGIE".  Many of the kids can't even talk, yet they got totally involved with presenting songs to their parents, siblings, and grandparents.  We felt honored and lucky to be looking on.

Keeping with the Jungle theme, Mary included a couple of Phil Collins songs from the Disney animated film, Tarzan.
Tarzan (Special Edition)
The two she chose were Strangers Like Me and You'll Be in My Heart.  I'll never again hear these songs in the same way.  From now on, I'll always think of that Special Day and Mary's Special Kids - the lyrics communicated a poignant message to us from them...

With a soundtrack in the background, the oldest students performed Strangers Like Me, holding up signs with the words:

"Come with me and you'll see my world,
Where there's beauty beyond your dreams...
Can you feel the things I feel right now with me?
Take my hand - there's a world I need to know!"

The final song was performed by all the kids.  You'll Be in My Heart speaks to what must surely be felt by every parent of a child with Special Needs, but my daughter had the children sing it to their parents.  (Of course, my husband pretty much had to scrape me up off the floor after they'd finished this one...)

"This bond between us 
Can't be broken
I will be here
Don't you cry.

'Cause you'll be in my heart
Yes, you'll be in my heart...
No matter what they say
You'll be in my heart...always.

Why can't they understand
The way we feel
They just don't trust
What they can't explain

I know we're different
But, deep inside us
We're not that
different at all

And you'll be in my heart
Yes, you'll be in my heart
From this day on
Now and forever more..."

Later, over lunch, Mary told us that when the performance was over she went to tell the kids goodbye.  One boy, a fifth-grader who will be graduating this year, is unable to speak (with words); so he made the hand gestures she'd taught all the kids for their last song:  looking deep in her eyes, with his hands outstretched to her, he reached them up over his head in a circle and brought them back down, crossing them over his chest.  He was saying, "You'll be in my heart, from this day on, now and forever more..."  He finished his message with a big hug for her.  Indescribable Grace.


  1. What a beautiful experience for everyone. I was crying just reading your post, I can't imagine how emotional it was to be there. Thank you for sharing.


  2. Thanks for partaking in and also sharing with others this special day, mom. I'm so glad you and dad could be there!! I'm still so blessed thinking about it, a truly unique and wonderful experience. I came home and thanked the Lord for each of the kids yesterday, and prayed that they would grow up with their lives bringing glory to Him.

  3. Thanks for sharing, Wendy. I, too, had tears streaming down my face. It is wonderful to see what joy Mary has brought to these kids and their families and friends using her amazing musical, dancing, and communication skills. You (and everyone you touch) are all so blessed.
    Dawn Wilson

  4. You, Mary, and all the special kids will be in my heart, always...

    Tom Braun

  5. I am so happy (even though I'm teary) you posted this event with your insights. Truly God was present in the love that was expressed by the children, their parents and special teachers. I am so proud of Mary and the gesture shown by the fifth grader to her is such a treasure. Thank you Mary for sharing the gifts God gave you.

  6. Wow! I think about how much that must have meant to each of those parents (it was a gift from their child they will never forget). And the joy each child must have felt, knowing that they were giving this. I can only imagine.

    This song is beautiful in every way. How much more so with the special way it was presented. Thank you for sharing this. With listening and reading, I feel like I was sitting here with that love all around me.