Sunday, April 17, 2011


Earlier this school year, students at Cal's school were given instructions about the school's 11th Annual Writing Contest.  The theme for this year was "Colors."  Each student in grades 3-6 was asked to write poetry, prose and to draw a picture or sketch which would reflect something about colors.  At the end of the school year, the poems, prose & artwork would be judged, and the students would receive certificates/awards at an assembly.  They also publish them yearly and sell the books.  For our little school, it's kind of a big deal. 

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... :) 
Picture of some random, wayyyyyy overly-affectionate, super visible, incredibly inappropriate parents who stood front & center in the school gym after the awards ceremony ended and pictures were being taken who proceeded to literally MAKE OUT in front of all the kids, parents, teachers, & faculty (I shit you not!).  Ummmm, awkward?!  This is just ONE shot I got (must retain anonymity for these yayhoos!  LOL) where he was dry humping her from behind, kissing her neck, swaying left-to-right, and whispering sweet nothings into her ear.  Creepy.  The other two shots I got were of them sitting in the bleachers with his arm around her, hand on her upper thigh (rubbing!), kissing her occasionally, and then he literally SKIPPED out of the gym.  Ewwwwww.  I was unable to shoot a picture of them standing closer to the center of the gym facing each other (just one move short of her wrapping her leg around his waist, I'm pretty sure) and kissing maybe 20-25 times, some lasting as long as 5 seconds each?!  I was THIS CLOSE to yelling, "I THINK HE'S GONNA PORK HER, RUSS!!!!!!" or "GET A ROOM!!!!!" but refrained.  It was difficult.  Instead I told all my friends & we all pointed & I snapped pictures.  Good times!   HA!
And now, I present you with Cal's winning prose:

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!
October 2003
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...
April 2010
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


K and B said...

CONGRATULATIONS Cal; so very proud of you!

And thanks for treating our daughter like a queen; you're a special kiddo and an amazing big brother!

Hugs, ~M.

Unknown said...

Cal, You were waiting for the right moment to write your passionate feelings.
Not only are you an excellent writer, but an outstanding and inspirational big brother. Congratulations.

Unknown said...

Congratulation,Cal!! Well done. Your 'colorful' essay was so heartwarming. You made me smile. Hugs from. Kay Swartz

Amy Blanton said...

Tears of joy for a kid who "gets it", who sees the bigger picture in life, who loves people for who they are, not for a diagnosis, not for who they may or may not be, but purely and totally loves them. You've got a great family, I love reading about them!!

Lisa said...

I am in tears. What a great kid. That boy is a blessing!

Anonymous said...

Way to go Cal! I love how you love your sisters. So wise at such a young age :) Congrats on your award!

Alison-Frances McKnight said...

Well done Cal, it takes a special person to bridge the 'normal' and 'special' worlds in which you live, to run the two together and make others WANT to experience the joys and differences. Thank you for speaking up for Claire and Lola, never mind their colours - yours shine bright indeed. You are the RAINBOW BRIDGE xxxx

Jessica said...

This post has me all choked up, what an amazing, amazing son you have.
Congratulations to him on his award!

DoRe' said...

Love all the recent posts (of course); your family is made up of some amazing human beings. :)

Have a great week! *Hugs*

Anonymous said...

You have three great kids, Gwen. Cal deserves his awards for his writing AND for his attitude.


Anonymous said...

WOW!!!! What a wonderful young man. Such a truly special person. What a credit to you and your husband. Look beyond the outer appearance and see what is beneath. You have a beautifully unique family. Love your post!!

tallywag1 said...

Gwen, I sent an email to the Ellen DeGeneres Show about Cal's story. If they contact me about it, I'll let you know. I included a link to your blog. I love to read your entries. Your life seems challenging, but also a lot of fun. I go to your site when I need a good laugh. You have a hilarious sense of humor and a beautiful family.
All the best,
Mary Weyer

Gwen said...

Mary -- that made my day (week?!)! Thank you so much for your kind words & what you did. SO VERY SWEET & touched my heart tonight!!! HUGS!

:) Gwen

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this. Cal seems so incredibly amazing. I had a mix of emotions, sher joy for the little man and his big heart, and anger. Anger because here is a 6th grade boy, who has learned to love with his whole being more so than almost any adult. Kids like Cal could really teach the world a few lessons. Good for him! -meghan kellerhals

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...