Thursday, February 2, 2012


Gavin has had a rough couple of weeks. All the fifth graders went on a 3-day, 2-night trip to Long Lake Conservation Camp last week and Gavin didn’t. When he thought he was going, he started to have behavioral issues out of stress. Then we all agreed he didn’t have to go. But when all the kids left, he had behavioral issues out of (probably) the shame of being different and left out. Then when all the kids got back, he had behavioral issues again. I think the bottom line of it was that the whole Long Lake trip threw a gigantic monkey wrench of transition into his Aspergian need for predictability. Things have settled down now. I haven’t had a phone call from the school in three days.

But I did get a phone call about Gavin from a total stranger today: a woman named Patty. Patty’s daughter, Mary Rose, is in Kindergarten at Gavin’s school. Mary Rose is blind and walks with a cane, either trailing the wall or being sight-guided by another student or adult.

Last Monday, Patty was dropping Mary Rose off at school late and, since the hallways were deserted, she decided to try the method of having her daughter follow her voice to navigate. As they proceeded slowly along, Gavin popped out of the boys’ bathroom and, while washing his hands at the sink in the hallway, he noticed the little girl’s hesitant momentum.

“You’re doing it wrong,” he said to Patty.

Mary Rose’s mom explained, “We’re trying a new way for Mary Rose, so she can learn other ways to get around on her own.”

But Gavin was insistent. “No,” he said. “You’re doing it wrong. She always holds someone’s hand. Here. I can take her to class.”

Patty asked Gavin’s name. She could see that he was truly concerned about her little girl, and was impressed that he spoke up for her. He had no idea Patty was Mary Rose’s mom, and he had the courage to address a total stranger on Mary Rose’s behalf.

She decided at that point that it would be appropriate to let Gavin help. “Mary Rose,” she asked, “is it okay if Gavin sight-guides you to class?”

“Yes,” Mary Rose replied.

“Will that be okay with your teacher?” she asked Gavin.

“I’m sure Mr. Busch won’t mind,” he replied. (At this point in Patty's retelling of the story, I cringed. Who knew where Gavin was actually supposed to be at that moment.)


So Gavin took Mary Rose’s hand and led her to her Kindergarten classroom. Patty was so touched by Gavin’s big heart that she decided to make him a certificate of appreciation for Mary Rose to present to him today. She had called me to ask for permission to take his picture/video with her daughter, which I gladly gave.

This—THIS—is the kind of thing we moms need to hear about!!! Especially when it feels like everything is going wrong with our kids. I am so grateful to Patty for her graciousness! And to little Mary Rose, who probably did more for Gavin in that moment than he did for her.


  1. Aw, this made me cry.

  2. Thank you for sharing this story!

  3. Wow!

    Love, Dad/Grandpa

  4. Sharing gratitude is a wonderful thing! And every individual offers us ample opportunities to "catch someone being good"; we just have to be willing (open) to look. Fantastic example, Miss Patty.

  5. She certainly made MY week (month!) :)