Sunday, April 21, 2013

Fingers and Toes

Sometimes it's the "small stuff" that makes all the difference.  Since my challenge to "Paint 'em Blue for Nathan", I've hardly gone anywhere that I didn't see some lovely lady "painted blue".  Whether for Nathan or not makes no difference.  I've seen an awful lot of blue.  It makes me feel a little more at home on this planet.  It lets me know that Nathan's world far more ready for him than mine was for me.  I'll may never view the arrival of April the same. 

Fingers and toes, top and bottom, pampered or neglected, aversion or obsession, admired or ignored, for one brief month, they are messengers.  From lovely, articulate ladies to babbling toddlers and everywhere in between, they told the world that someone with Autism was important.  Awareness breeds acceptance.  Acceptance morphs into understanding.  Understanding gives rise to value.  When one is valued, one is equal.  

 Abbi and Layla
"Paint 'em Blue for Nathan" started here.

My lovely bride, and mother of my boys.

Amanda S. and Kyler
 When asked about her blue toes, our 3-year-old activist replied
 "It's for Autimismum."

Amanda R. and Lauren.  
It would seem my world is filled with lovely Amandas.
These are the first in the gallery who have never met Nathan, not that it matters to them.

This dear lady tirelessly servers her community.  Passionate, funny, and way over-committed, she's out to save the world and just might do it.   She brings great joy to all 4 Bateys.  She HATES having her feet "looked at", but no sacrifice is to great for a good cause.

One of Nathan's "guardian angels" at school.  Annmarie represents a new group of friends here.  They value Nathan the person and have little concern for what "having a special friend says about them".  This group of teens owns my heart.  They move me in ways they don't yet have the context to understand.

Our first babysitter in Louisiana.  
She carved out her own special niche in Nathan's heart and in his parents'.

An amazing vibrant soul that I've shared "unintended memories" with.  
Our world is brighter because she's in it.

Dear friend and gifted singer in more of the bands I play in than I can count.
Debbie went out one day after surgery to "get her blue on".  
Debbie is a teacher.  She presented "Paint 'em Blue for Nathan" to her 5th-grade girls.

Debbie's 5th-grade girls

Nobody loves Nathan like Gayle does.
She's known him since he was 3.  I've long said "if you could only have one friend, Gayle is the one you want."

One of my dearest friends.  She's a confidant, prayer partner, and devoted fan of my family.

Jenn's Daughter
Mom's raising her right!

Nathan's resource teacher in elementary school.  
Nathan would be nowhere near where he is now without Kelly.  She's family now.
She and Nay are like siblings.  It's hilarious to watch.

Dear friend and "cheerleader" at work.  
You'd never know just how PG she is based on this pic.

A dear friend's daughter.  She lights up our world a couple of times every year 
and wanted to show her support for Nathan

An amazing young lady who cares so deeply that she was actually concerned about making a good impression on Nathan.  That's a first as far as I can see.  She's solid gold as far as we're concerned.

Megan and Stephanie
Chosen family.  Words can not contain the benefit they bring to our lives and particularly to Nathan's

The closest to a sister my boys will ever have.  She's family because we say she is, 
and that's plenty.

A dear friend from another life.  Sometimes time and distance are irrelevant. 
She's never met Nathan, which obviously, changes nothing in her concern for him.

The diva of the bunch.  Intense off stage and on, Naomi and 
Nathan share the common nickname "Nay Nay".  As a local radio personality, 
she took "Paint 'em Blue for Nathan" to the masses.  

Bekah and Paula
More that time and distance can't touch.  I'm proud of Bekah.  She's earned it.
Being called "friend" by her mother, Paula, honors and humbles me.

Passionate, fiery, and funny, this lady is rapidly becoming "chosen family"

All or nothing!  Sabrina gets two pictures.  
She took "Paint 'Em Blue" to a full bore fashion statement.

Sabrina Pic #2
I was informed it took 3 coats to get the color right!

She and her husband are raising three amazing boys who place amazing value on our boys.  
Everybody needs people like these folks!

As the pictures flowed in, one scripture kept returning to my mind:

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!" Isaiah 52:7

There you have it.  These ladies knew they'd be published.  They did not know there'd be commentary.  I hope in some small way to have made each of them feel as loved and valued as their one simple act has my family and me.  

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