The night before Pride, Ruby fell asleep here at our place. As she's stayed here many times before, her parents decided to leave her sleeping and headed out with Sadie to their hotel room Before I went to bed I went in and checked on her. She was deeply, deeply asleep. Her face, at rest, looked like I imagine all kids faces look like - angelic.
Somewhere deep into the night I heard her whimpering, soft cries came from her. I went to her and sat beside her. 'I had a bad dream,' she said. She reached for me and rested against me. I said, 'You are safe. You are loved.' Those seemed like magic words because seconds later she said, 'I feel better now.' She lay down and was back asleep for the rest of the night.
A very simple little thing. One that will be familiar to all of you who have children. It was a new experience for me. I went back to bed feeling awesome. Knowing that my presence and a few words, could still fears - how amazing is that?
In the morning Ruby was up and ready to have fun. She attacked the day with glee. She was probably the most photographed child in the march. Her beautiful Pride dress, her amazing Pride necklace, and her deadly water gun - made her a combination of 'fashion runway' and 'aqua military' ... perfect for the day. She took compliments gracefully and attacked her job of spraying people with water purposefully. She rode with Joe on the scooter and when she saw someone who needed soaking, we never figured out the criteria she used, she got off and went after them. The crowd loved it.
We were joined by two other organizations that serve people with disabilities, so our contingent was much larger this year. We had banners, we had whistles, we had water guns and we had our determination to participate and to represent our message that the 'D' in diversity stand for Disability. That we will be part of the community, that we will celebrate our lives publicly. Those who were there both as part of the Vita crowd and as part of our larger contingent kept glancing at each other in shock.
It was like, here, now, together, a message was slipping in around the edges of the noise and chaos. Like a message whispered into a dream.
You are safe.
You are loved.