May I make note that Cal has participated in the Writing Contest in 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, AND 5th Grade so far, and he has yet to win any kind of an award, and they give not only 1st through 3rd places, but they also give honorable mention, and there are often times TIES in those! I was beginning to chalk his lack of awards up to the fact that he MIGHT just be a shitty writer when this year, he surprised us all!
Cal said, "Mom, I want to do good in the Writing Contest this year. I am going to work really hard on my entries." And he did just that! He toiled over them, spent countless hours on them (by HIS choice), and he made sure they were perfect in his eyes when he submitted them. We were SO proud of his efforts AND of his writing!
It apparently paid off, because our boy WON both the poetry and the prose categories for the 6th Grade!
|Kaitlyn & Cal with their "hardware" ~ proud of you both!|
|Hunter & Cal ~ WAY TO GO!|
|The two lovebirds at the book signing... :)|
The Color of my Heart
Everywhere I go with my little sisters, no matter where I am, everyone feels sorry for them and wishes they were normal. The doctors said my sisters would only live for maybe a year, but look at them now, they are nine and four years old. I think the reason my sisters are still here, is because I love on them and they want to stay with us and live a joyful life. They are tiny in size but big in their heart. Even though my sisters are different from everyone else and have special needs they are the most wonderful, lovable, colorful people I know.
Claire and Lola are my most cared for people in the world, and they love everything I do for them. For instance, every Wednesday Claire and Lola go to swim in 95 degree water, and it seems like they melt right when they hit the water, and relax, and almost fall asleep. My whole family goes to Shocker basketball games, including Claire and Lola, and every timeout they play music on the speakers, and I help them dance to all of the music. They look so cute and hilarious when they dance. They girls also like looking at lights in general, so if there are any big lights on or lights on in the dark, they love it, and look at it, and smile forever. Claire and Lola also enjoy petting my two dogs' fur, because it is so soft, smooth, and silky, and they think it is the best thing in the world. Last, probably one of their favorite times of the year, Halloween. Every year my sisters dress up as the most funny, outrageous, and weird costumes ever. For example, this year Lola was a witch and I flew her around on a broomstick all through the house. Claire was a girl pirate and had an eye patch and a hook. They had the best costumes in the neighborhood by far.
Claire and Lola are the most loved people in my life, and I am glad that I can help them live an interesting, wonderful, and joyful life. My sisters mean a lot to me, and I will always be here for them. Claire and Lola will always be a part of my heart forever. Even though Claire and Lola have Special Needs and can't walk or talk or even see sometimes, they have the most personality and color of anyone I know.
by Cal Hartley, age 12, 6th Grade
It is touching, as a Mom, to read something like this written by your child. I know Cal's life with his sisters is FAR from "normal." He has his own kind of relationship with his sisters, and I love that he loves them for who they are. I bawled when I read this the first time, and it made me realize how little this "normalcy" matters. The bonds go so much deeper...
|July 25, 2001 ~ Cal's first time to hold his baby sister, Claire ~ he was SO proud and SO didn't care about all the scary, heartbreaking things being told to us about our girl and her diagnosis. He just loved her. Deeply. And still does.|
|July 2003 ~ Cal & Claire ~ one of my favorite pictures of ALL TIME!|
|May 2004 ~ Cal with his cuddle-Buggy!|
|November 2004 ~ Photo taken by Gavin Peters|
|July 2006 ~ pulling the flower girl, Claire, down the aisle for a wedding|
|The first week of Lola's life ~ again, nothin' but love. Rest in peace, sweet Halley (our doggie) ~ we miss you!!!|
|Cal could always calm Lola when no one else could...|
|We love our big brother, Cal! (except Lola wants to punch him with her fake thumb-splint boxing gloves!)|
|December 2009 ~ Photo taken by Gavin Peters|
I could not be more proud of you and the young man you've become, Cal. We love you so much. xo