In Our Own Skin

I have been waiting to write this post for a few weeks now.

If you had to rank your friends on insecurities from 1-10, you’d probably rank me a good 9 with a high of 10+++++.  Yes, I fully admit there’s been days when I can’t get out of the house because I feel like such a loser or think I look like a big dork.   I think we all have those days.

But then there’s my small group of friends that make those insecurities vanish. I never second guess my thoughts and know they never second-guess me. I love these girls. It seems, as I get older I value friendships more and more.  Just having those few good friends can get you through the toughest hours.

This all leads me to Joe. How you may wonder?

Joe was having a pretty tough time this year in 3rd grade. It was more than a good 9-10 times when he would just not get out of the car at school insisting he just couldn’t do it.  I didn’t know what to do. Well, I knew what to do, cuz I have felt like that so many times.  I loved when my friend Anne said “Denise, he is just a boy, he is not an adult, bring him home and love on him.”

So many others tried to tell me to just make him go.  Man, the thought of that killed me.  I myself knew how hard it was to get out the door many days, but Joe feeling like this?  And then pushing him out the door?  I know how it would feel as an adult, so how could I do that to a boy.

So in short this past Spring was pretty hard for Joe and for us. You know what it is like to watch your child feel sad or stressed. It is not fair and you want to figure out how to help.

I knew a lot of Joe’s anxiety was coming from the typical growing up and realizing we are all different in many ways. I think for maybe the first time, for if only a few seconds he realized he was a different.  He has never used his hand, speech or anything as an excuse and this time he did.

A while ago I signed up on a chat group called CHASA, Children’s Hemiplegia & Stroke Association.  I went to the site and saw they were having a retreat in July. I instantly signed Joe up and we went.

I was super nervous.  I actually talked David into going a few days early so I could be completely comfortable in my surroundings.  (Yes, I even get nervous going into new restaurants. I told you, I am really self-conscious.)

Well, on Friday night when other families started arriving I told myself I had to step out of my comfort zone. We couldn’t hide in the room. So we went out to dinner with a few families not knowing what to expect.

After dinner, David and I both looked at each other and said, ” Have you ever heard Joe talk so much? Did you hear how loud he was talking?” It was crazy. It was beautiful. It was pure bliss.

And for 4 short days I witnessed my son drop all insecurities and just be the amazing boy he is.  You know the feeling you get when you see your child giggle uncontrollably, the ” WOW, this is happiness, this is what life is all about?” Yes, that feeling. I could see it in Joe’s eyes the entire time.  Truth be told, I could see it in every child’s eyes. It was perfect.

I left there thinking  “Wow, this is such a huge thing for these kids and their families”. There are so many families that may not even know about this. There are so many kids that need to have that feeling in their life. I have to help.  I saw a gorgeous 12 yr old in a wheel chair light up when she watched a presentation for a Walk Aid. This 12yr old and her friend stole my heart.  I knew they had a bond that doesn’t happen everyday.  You know the friends that we all want for our child, the ones that make all those insecurities vanish.

So I have been pondering how could I help CHASA. The answer? I can’t do it alone, but together we can. And Platinum is going to lead the way.  From here on out we will donate 3% of each Platinum purchase to CHASA.

A huge thank you to all of those who support the Matilda Jane Platinum Label!

**PS I know you are waiting for the site, soon..


Marcy Hoffman - August 8, 2011 - 9:36 am

I am new, relatively speaking, to the MJC scene. I came across this blog post and I am so moved by it. I could relate to everything that you spoke to. The insecurities that I feel, all by myself, that I must overcome to help my children. And with my daughter(entering 3rd grade) who asks, “When am I going to be normal?” Talk about ripping my heart out! You cannot “see” her challenges, as she has an Auditory Processing Delay, but she can surely feel it in her heart.
I know for certain that this is not in my head, but….. she holds herself differently when she is wearing her MJC. I see confidence in her, when she wears her Lollipop skirt and it swings and sways, and twirls so perfectly. When asked what she wants to wear for her pictures, she always goes to MJC. I want to thank you for that. And thank you for all the giving that you do to help others. You are truly an inspiration!

Elysia - August 4, 2011 - 6:47 pm

You are the most amazing person ever! I wonder…would those girls be interested in having some Matilda Jane? I would be willing to help with that.

sherry briick - August 4, 2011 - 1:30 pm

Joe is so lucky to have you as his mom. We are happy to join you and your family in your journey to help chasa and all they represent.

Bella's mom - August 3, 2011 - 10:47 pm

Denise….thank you so much for sharing such a huge piece of your life….and thanks to Joe for sharing it too! As a psychotherapist who has worked with kids in schools for the last 18 years…..i have met a lot of Joe’s and they are what keep me coming back!! As you said….all of us feel “different” at times, and for some, it is a lot harder to deal with. I also want to share that I have a cousin that was in a car accident that has left her a quad, although she does have use of some of her arms and upper body and has improved a lot in the last 4 years… thing she has done is go to India for stem cell procedures…..her last trip a few months ago she was walking with calipurs!!!!…….you might want to look into that……would be glad to hook you up with my aunt and uncle or my cousin too! Best of luck to Joe….he is very lucky to have the family that he has… your heart Denise!

Shannon Stamps - August 3, 2011 - 7:58 pm

I want to kiss Joes cheeks! How amazing this is and how proud you must be, what a blessing you have to be in the position to be able to give back to CHASA like this, totally pure awesomeness!

Emily C. - August 3, 2011 - 7:20 pm

Denise, I love everything about this post!

cammie - August 3, 2011 - 7:13 pm

love this post!

Paula MP - August 3, 2011 - 6:10 pm

Joe is an absolute inspiration to all kids with hemiplegia. It was so wonderful to chat with him at 435 and tell him about my son and how they both rocked AL! Glad you had a great trip and I would love to help support CHASA by buying platinum and maybe we will see you next year at the retreat!

laura - August 3, 2011 - 2:44 pm

Thank you. That made me cry. I know how it feels to watch your children struggle, and I know the feeling also when they succeed at something you weren’t sure they would be able to do. May we all dream big dreams for our little ones.

I admire how you run your business and your kind heart. You have a mother’s heart.

January Hagan - August 3, 2011 - 1:32 pm

Thanks for making me feel like I am not alone, when I struggle with James’ insecurities.

C Hamilton - August 3, 2011 - 12:37 pm

A beautiful story. Isn’t it so hard to watch your child struggle? You just want to fix it for them – but that doesn’t really fix anything does it? I can imagine how amazing that experience was for all of you – watching Joe completely comfortable and completely himself! I love that your beautiful creations that make some of us so happy will now help make amazing kids like Joe feel just right in their perfect skin that God gave them! Thanks for all you do to give back and for inspiring others to do the same.

Holly - August 3, 2011 - 12:35 pm

You brought tears to my eyes! Thank you for what you’re doing!

Elizabeth - August 3, 2011 - 11:11 am

Oh, Denise. Thank you for having the courage to share this with us! I am totally without good words here, but I admire that you are going to support CHASA with your business.

Jen - August 3, 2011 - 11:03 am

It seems I can’t read the blog lately without a tissue box handy. They’ve been the good kind of tears, though. 🙂 My platinum for the season is scheduled to arrive today but is there a way to make a donation to the organization outside of that? We don’t have a ton to offer at the moment but we can always find a way to contribute something. This post really hits home with us and I’d love to share in helping in any way I can.

Carole Yeck - August 3, 2011 - 11:01 am

Hugs to all of you. Many a day Ive been there with my own Joe. Id leave Bishop Baraga crying harder than he was even though I knew he was safe and in good hands and would come around sometime after he knew I was at work and hed be there for the day. Breaks my heart to see him struggle. It hard enough rowing up today in this world as an average everyday child….let alone to havit compounded with more difficult issues…developmental or otherwise. I came to know that is takes a childs mother to best advocate for them….only you really know that child well enough to know whats best for them…only you can look past his nervous smile to know whats really going on in his head and heart. I think its beautiful that you take such significant moves to be your sons advocate and voice as well as to so many other families. The world really is a more beautiful place with you in it Denise. Yo have a special way of touching the lives of so many. I wish for you that you come to feel comfortable in you own skin and to truly know what a remarkable person you really are. My best to your cause and to your Joe…from me and mine.

Jamie Hicks - August 3, 2011 - 10:57 am

This post hits home for me Denise. Aiden has a lot of social issues, and while he is my brilliant, beautiful little guy, I see him so stressed and anxious and feeling like I do most of the time and I just want to fix it! He told me yesterday he doesn’t want to have his birthday in 3 weeks because when he turns 6 he has to go to K in a new, big, school. We’re 99% sure he has aspergers and are testing him for it and I see so much of both my husband and I in my, the beautiful parts, and the painful parts. His current teachers say he is at a 2nd grade level, he reads very well and writes, knows all 50 states and capitals, as well as countries and capitals I’ve never even heard of…anyhow, I know he is so scared and if I could keep him home I would in a second. Also doesn’t help that he is TINY for his age and wears glasses and I know how mean kids can be. Anyhow…thanks for letting me vent. I love reading about Joe!!! Can’t we just hug them all the time and tell them it is alright? oye!

Lara Kisich - August 3, 2011 - 10:24 am

Such a great idea!! I’m glad my money spent on platinum will go towards Chasa!! Platinum is special to begin with…now even more so.

My Little Carolina Girl - August 3, 2011 - 9:06 am

This was a very moving stroy.

Judie Trinley - August 3, 2011 - 8:51 am

That story made my chest hurt, my throat close up and my eyes tear. My son is 7, going into 2nd grade, and on the Autism spectrum. Most days are very difficult for us, but when we took him to French Creek the other day and watched him take off his shirt, get into the shallow water and catch crayfish all while laughing, falling into the water and actually having fun, I know what he is and what he can be. Kudos to you and your son for being strong when you need to, and being the loving, caring mother you are. Growing up is difficult enough, but with you as his mother, he’s going to be all that he can be.

Maria - August 3, 2011 - 7:25 am

Tears…tears of joy and love…you should have titled this one “grab a tissue”. I can feel you, your emotion and relief, in what you typed and shared-my little angel and I are in a similar boat. Thank you Denise for being a voice for mamas who have children who have to try just a tad harder.
…and oh my has Joe grown! So handsome!

Nichole Schrock - August 3, 2011 - 7:01 am

this post really touched my heart. I believe we all fear for our children as they enter school: the bullying, the stereotypes, and all our insecurities from school all flood back into our brains.. THen there is the group of us that have our miracle babies. Our Jack was born early with multiple congenital annomolies. I fear for him to go to his new school this year. I don’t want him to ever think he is different, even though he is.
However, I have had the opportunity to what my baby boy with another little guy that has CP. He is so attentive to him and helps him to dance to the music and bring him toys so he can play with him. I am not sure if this compassion because of what he has gone through or straight from God, the thing I do know is that it is not taught. I am sure you understand this. I pray for my son and the day he goes to school with the Big kids and I also pray i will have the strength that you did to go against the norm and let him know that his feelings are just as important to me as following the rules. thanks for being a good role model. I love that we get to support this foundation through you guys too. 🙂

Lisa - August 3, 2011 - 6:48 am

Amazing post…I am truly touched and so understand the love you have for your Joe. I think everyday what my life would be without my dd being a part of it. I have been following your blog for years now and can not believe the strength that your Joe possesses-he has learned it from the best-you really are an amazing person!

Rachel Padilla - August 3, 2011 - 6:20 am

Love this! Thanks for sharing, and thanks for allowing us to help make a difference.

Maranda B - August 3, 2011 - 5:51 am

All I can say is Thank you. Amazing Post!

Courtney Puhl - August 3, 2011 - 5:35 am

Such a great idea, Deinse! Please know that no matter what kind of day you’re having, we support you. You’re an amazing women and we see that day after day.

Steph S. - August 3, 2011 - 5:00 am

again-you inspire me to be a better person. thank you for giving back your blessings to those who can truly benefit. denise, you wow this community. xo

Debra/Sophie Stallings - August 3, 2011 - 3:33 am

Great post. Joe is AMAZING. He was so kind to Sophie when we came to art fair. You should be very proud of him and yes we all want our children to laugh and be happy. Laughter of the babes makes the world go around. So glad you found this organization. Any group that helps children has my vote.

Everyone should be kind especially to those who are not kind to you. You dont know what is going on in their life and one nice gesture could change their day. 🙂

Amber - August 3, 2011 - 12:21 am

Amazing – first of all, the new blog look is gorgeous! And yeah…you are SO generous and I love that about you and Matilda Jane. And yeah for Joe – how wonderful to see your boy so happy 🙂

Sarah L-B - August 2, 2011 - 10:43 pm

Incredibly giving 🙂

Rachelle Sipkovsky - August 2, 2011 - 10:35 pm

Love this!!!

Carrie K - August 2, 2011 - 10:30 pm

Wow, Denise you are Amazing!

Rachel Hess - August 2, 2011 - 10:20 pm

Bravo. Now bring on the Platinum so we can do some more good.

Addy Van Anne - August 2, 2011 - 10:15 pm

This makes me want to buy even more platinum. Love this post. 🙂

Lisa - August 2, 2011 - 10:00 pm

I have to share something with you:) I will have to figure out a way to share it with you, but I know exactly how you feel about watching Joe’s insecurities disappear with his friend! My sister had a stoke when she was 11 and has always felt she was out of place and didnt fit in at school. This is an amazing thing that you are doing. Truely amazing

Joy Williams - August 2, 2011 - 9:12 pm

Denise, How wonderful! We are going through something that really makes me be able to relate. My Amelia (Mia) has started having seizures. I am so glad that Joe is doing well! What a sweet family you are. I hope that you realize what a great impact you have on so many people!

holly lafferty - August 2, 2011 - 9:10 pm

i’m going to have to quote one of my BFFs… who always says this at that exact moment when i’m really questioning myself… “you’re doing it right”.

Jami - August 2, 2011 - 8:52 pm

Oh that Ann is a wise woman. My itty bitty starts Kindergarten in 3 short weeks and we may have a few “stay home and love” kinds of days. It’s hard for them to understand now, but maybe someday they will. “For the soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears.” ~John Vance Cheney

cariann miller - August 2, 2011 - 8:40 pm

Thanks for sharing this, and for always being transparent.
There is so much more to you and your company than amazingly adorable clothing. Its why I keep coming back.

graceevelynsmom - August 2, 2011 - 8:38 pm

Denise, I just have to say how much I understood the pain you felt for Joe. Grace Evelyn, my 7 year old daughter, had a terrible time this year with some anxiety that grew from a girl in her class being mean to her. I was totally not expecting mean girls in 1st grade. The funny thing is that Grace Evelyn loves her MJ clothing and wears it almost daily. This little girl would ask where I got her clothes and it seemed the cutier Grace Evelyn was the more hateful this little girl was to her. I have a degree in child psychology so I got her an appointment with a therapist I respect in town. After a few visits and some reassurance that it was okay to say “I like you but I don’t like the way you are treating me” Grace Evelyn did much better. She continues to love and wear MJ all the time and I don’t think this past year will change that, luckily she has learned that jealousy will make people be really ugly to you. It has also been a valuable lesson in how it feels to be treated like that and to remember that when you want to say something mean to your little brother, or a classmate. I will continue to support her standing up for herself and stay in tune with what she is going through. I am glad you found some “therapy” for Joe. It is a process and it takes a village to raise a child. And for the record I would never push one out of the car either, you have to get to the root of the problem and work on that! Thanks for sharing your life with all of us across the world and I love supporting a company with such heart!

Ana Esteves-Amaro - August 2, 2011 - 8:32 pm

That is so how I feel as a mother…thank you for sharing. I truely feel blessed to be able to have come to know your company and all the great things it does to help. Thank you for being you and letting us be us! Many more blessings to come I just know it. 🙂

Gidget - August 2, 2011 - 8:31 pm

So neat …and how special of a story.The best part..
your son himself.It makes me smile when kids are happy,
even if it is not my own. So glad that with every purchase
we are all helping. To me,A AWESOME THING,A TEAM.

Dawn - August 2, 2011 - 8:29 pm

This is beautiful!

Angela W - August 2, 2011 - 8:21 pm

Wow I have tears…love this story…love how you always give back!!! You Rock!!

Lil - August 2, 2011 - 8:10 pm

beautiful post… <3

Kristen - August 2, 2011 - 8:00 pm

Denise…honestly, you are so inspiring. What a beautiful thing you are doing. You don’t know how many people you will be helping with this & how many others you help just by opening your heart in the blog. Thank you:)

Heather D - August 2, 2011 - 7:55 pm

Thank you for sharing this with us. I’m so glad Joe enjoyed his time at the CHASA retreat and that you can give something back to them in such an awsome way. It sounds like he gained quite a bit of confidence at the retreat and hopefully met many new friends. I hope all our children can grow up to be comfortable, confident, and proud of who they are. May we all be fortunate enough to have such precious friends in our lives!

Jennifer Mezines - August 2, 2011 - 7:53 pm

Sounds just like my son. We are headed into 4th grade this year after barely surviving third grade. So many days I had to help him out of the van, smiling through my tears, and trying desperately to convince him that it was going to be a great day. As soon as I would pull away….I would fall apart. What a great organization and camp. Wish I could find something like that for my son. I’ll do my part with Platinum purchases to help! Wonderful!

Amy Becker - August 2, 2011 - 7:48 pm

So beautiful!! It’s so funny.. I’ve lived almost 27 years thinking that brands were not important. In my family, we always gave more than we took in. Denise, you give me the desire to support you guys because of your amazing heart and giving spirit. I love it! You inspire. Thank you

Jessica Lopez - August 2, 2011 - 7:47 pm

Awesome story…always good to hear as Mother’s we all have days where we struggle between what’s best for our kids (especially since I have 6 to think of). They keep us on our toes but when we do something good like you did sending Joe to camp & they enjoy it well that in my opinion is one of the great rewards of parenting. Thanks so much for sharing & for all the hard work you & your team @ 435 put into these gorgeous clothes!! Love you guys.

Melissa B - August 2, 2011 - 7:45 pm

Tugging at the heartstrings tonight! No greater feeling for a mom than seeing HER CHILD shine! He is so handsome!

Michelle Huesgen - August 2, 2011 - 7:44 pm

Denise, seriously just shed some tears of joy for you guys and Joe. Love you all to pieces… I could tell you a million times how much of an amazing woman you are, and you’d never believe it. part of what makes you amazing is that humbleness. Love you lady!

Rachel Watts - August 2, 2011 - 7:44 pm

Denise, Reading your post about donating to the CHASA organization has really touched my heart. My two year old twin son is an in-utero stroke survivor and has stayed in constant therapies trying to progress his muscles, speech, and activity to a “normal development” (Although I think he’s perfectly normal just the way God gave him to me :). My husband and I recently discovered the CHASA organization as well and joined their challenge in the “Streak for Pediatric Stroke” event in May. We raised money and awareness by choosing a streak of activity and committing to doing it every day for the month of May to honor the struggle that stroke survivors face daily. We neither were runners- so we chose to run at least a mile a day and while it got hard (much harder than I expected), we BOTH finished strong keeping our little boy, Brody and other stroke survivors on our minds as we ran every day. Below is our family team page from the event. It was a lot of fun and we look forward to doing it again next year. Maybe you and 435 can “streak” next year in May, too! 🙂
Hope you had a great time at the CHASA retreat- we are planning to attend next year and in the years to come!
God Bless you, Joe, your family, and your generous heart.

Nicole Myers - August 2, 2011 - 7:36 pm

love everything about this post

Christina Albrigo - August 2, 2011 - 7:28 pm

You and your friend Anne are very sensitive and wise people. I think that we want our children to be strong, and sometimes forget that they are just kids. There are times we need to push our children. But, there are also times that we need to be our children’s soul soothing retreat. And you are sensitive enough to know the difference. Good job, you are a wonderful Mom!

Mauri - August 2, 2011 - 7:25 pm

I’m all teary eyed now! All parents want the BEST for their kids and it’s so hard to see them struggle but AMAZING to see them shine. Love the idea for Platinum….as if we all need more incentive to buy more MJ! Love love love hearing about Joe and your every day normal person life. Thanks for sharing with us all.

Jill - August 2, 2011 - 7:21 pm

Denise, that is a wonderful idea. Wish I knew that Joe was having insecurities. I think that part of it is a growing stage as Sam had some last year too. I really think the world of Joe and I know that Sam will tell you that Joe is one of his best friends even if they don’t get to see each other a lot (I really hope that they are in the same class this year). We would love to be there for him whenever we can! Love that this camp helped him! Hope it can help many others too!
You are such a wonderful mom! Never would have guessed that you are insecure though. You always present so confident and cheerful! It amazes me that we can present a front without showing how we truly feel. Know that you are a wonderful person and that others love you and your generous spirit!

Meredith - August 2, 2011 - 7:18 pm

WOW! This is wonderful! I have tears:) As mothers we can all share your sentiment – we all want the same for our “babies”. Way to see a(nother!) opportunity for service and run with it!! (not that we needed another reason to LOVE MJ or platinum!!) xo

lovemy2girls - August 2, 2011 - 7:18 pm

That was a touching post. It’s awesome what you’re doing. Good luck, Joe 🙂

Meghan Vashko - August 2, 2011 - 7:17 pm

How wonderful that you stretched your hand out of your comfort zone to help your boy. And how wonderful that your hand was met with so many reaching out for you too. You just know that that kid of yours spread so much joy during those 4 days, there are families so thankful to have met him. Thank you for sharing that story and I know we all can’t wait to help support CHASA.

JoAnne J. - August 2, 2011 - 7:15 pm

What a wonderful thing to do. You have a great boy Denise, and he will grow into a great Man 🙂 Glad ya’ll had such a fun trip and all those insecurities could just vanish for an awesome time!

Chapel Kershaw - August 2, 2011 - 7:15 pm

I love that you are doing this & I love that you share your ‘real’ feelings & thoughts with us….I think we all forget at times that there is a real person with feelings, that go through the same things we do behind the Matilda Jane name. And I love that Joe found his ‘happy place’ in himself & around others. It’s so hard for us as parents to find the balance of keeping the inner child/innocence in our children but also encouraging them to grow in their self as well. Thanks for sharing…..your story & platinum sales! 🙂

Angie - August 2, 2011 - 7:15 pm

I totally understand about being insecure, I’ve struggled with being shy my whole life & I’ve passed it onto my 10 year old son. Sometimes when our kids get older we forget that they are still kids because they are forced to grow up so fast in this high paced world we live in! My husband forgets this & sometimes gets mad at me & says I baby him too much. I don’t see it that way, I see it as being a loving mom, I only do it at home – not in front of his friends because home is where you need to feel safe & comforted. Sometimes I have a hard time relating to him & the things he’s interested in but I certainly don’t want him to think I don’t love him!
Your piece was great & what a great cause to contribute to!! Your son is very lucky to have you for his mom! 🙂

jenna - August 2, 2011 - 7:15 pm

that was a wonderful, inspiring post! I did not know about your son. I’m learning a lot as I read these posts! Thank you so much for sharing and you are a wonderful mom and person!

love - August 2, 2011 - 7:13 pm

i love this, denise. you are a gem for sure. i love MJC for your super cute clothes…but even more for stuff like this.

your joe is a gem, too. =)

[ps–just got done with my trunk show. i miss sara spitler. as my trunk keeper, but must say that i adore kimberly. she was wonderful! the collection is gorgeous. thanks for doing this. it cannot be easy to love these things so much and stick your neck out there…in having these things you love for sale and in the fact of it intertwining with your personal life, too here on the blog. i love that you do that. thank you.]

Kristin T - August 2, 2011 - 7:13 pm

Your big heart and family are an inspiration!! You are a truly gifted and talented individual who should never feel insecure. What a wonderful retreat for your son to attend, and a wonderful thing for you to do to support it.

Ann B - August 2, 2011 - 7:13 pm

Sounds like a wonderful organization. I just have to say, based upon Joe’s participation in calling all the raffle numbers at Art Fair, I surely would never have guessed he had any problems with confidence!!! Such a sweet kid.

Nesha Thompson - August 2, 2011 - 7:11 pm

How absolutely wonderful! Your generosity is so inspiring! Joe is AMAZING, even from a distance! You should be so proud!

Bee - August 2, 2011 - 7:10 pm

Inspiring…that is what MJC is for my family! Y’all simply ROCK through and through!

Ashley - August 2, 2011 - 7:09 pm

Right there with you Denise. My oldest is a boy who just finished 3rd grade, and it was a TOUGH year. All we can do is pray for them and make them feel as loved as possible at home!! Love platinum & ready for it to be back! You & Me was phenomenal!

Nesha Thompson - August 2, 2011 - 7:08 pm

How absolutely wonderful! Your generosity is so inspiring! You should be so proud!

Jessica - August 2, 2011 - 7:07 pm

Denise, What a beautiful story! Joe is so lucky to have you for a mom!!!

Melanie - August 2, 2011 - 7:05 pm

This post is beautiful & just made me swell up inside for your sweet Joe! My Jack actually remembers him well & just this week, out of the blue asked me if we would ever get to see his friend again who we met in Nashville when we went for a Matilda Jane meeting, because he was a lot of fun to play with.
I too know that deep deep down desire to not merely see our kids happy, but to see them exactly as you have titled this post, comfortable in their own skin…shining…being who they were created to be…giving to the world the gift that only they can give…And thank you for always shining & always giving…you set such a wonderful example for your children & for all of us!

Kelly Gorney - August 2, 2011 - 7:05 pm

What a wonderful thing you are doing!!!!!