She's eleven. The same age as Calvin. She's also one of the cutest little girls I know with one of the sweetest brothers, Sol, I've ever met, with the most caring and compassionate parents in the world. Her name is Harvest.

Harvest and her family lived just down the street for a couple of years and joined us at a table for sixteen one Thanksgiving. We'd see them come and go and I'd sometimes run into her mom, Brandi, at Calvin's school where she worked as a behaviorist. Nestor, her dad, was Michael's colleague in the college art department. He liked to make things with his hands, a creator of much including provocative ideas and bread, the latter of which he'd bring to us in small loaves still warm from the oven.

Sadly, the family moved away several years ago to Pennsylvania. I keep track of them on Facebook, watch the kids grow up in photos, see Nestor's creations and his students' work. The other day I got this message from Brandi:

Hi Christy,

A little while ago you posted a video of Calvin having a seizure. As I was reading your blog and watching the video, Harvest came from behind and watched too.  She was so upset and moved that she wanted to do something about it.  After waiting for good weather and lots of planning, Harvest and her friend Stella set up a lemonade stand and raised $125 for Calvin.  We just made the donation from one of your links on your blog.  Harvest thinks the world of Calvin and only wants him to get better! 

As always, we are thinking of you!

Have a lovely day,

Reading Brandi's message and seeing the photos of the girls made me weep. I think back to when I was eleven, when I first began feeling a sense of independence. Then, I had no concept of others' needs. She's so evolved, I think, and I know why Harvest and her brother have always seemed like old souls to me: because they are and because their lovely parents show them how.

I remember the first time I met Nestor. I was upstairs in our bedroom with Calvin getting him dressed after a bath. Michael walked in with this tall man in an overcoat, long, dark curls with a twinge of gray circling his face, thick black frames accentuating the kind of hooded eyes I like so much. He smiled warmly and said, "Hi Calvin," coming in close enough for me to see the handsome gap between his teeth. He was so gentle and loving, as if he'd known Calvin—known us—for a million years, acting as though he hadn't even registered Calvin's disability, not dismissively, but in a good way. I'll never forget that moment, the best kind of first meeting there could be. I hugged him immediately.

Thinking back to Harvest and her lemonade stand, I honor all the people who donated their hard earned cash for this year's CURE epilepsy benefit, folks who helped us raise over $25,000 toward a grand total of over $120K. I recall folks who gave to the cause who barely scrape by, of family and friends who have given every single year. I think of strangers who care about our boy's precious life enough to go out of their way and set something aside. And then I think of Harvest, who has lived away for all these years, and her friend Stella who has never met Calvin. My heart melts knowing—at eleven—they decided to make a difference in our son's life, and it almost kills me with the kind of ache I think I'd have if she were my child.

Thank you, Harvest. Thank you, Stella. Thank you so much for all the love you bring into the world.

Harvest (right) and her friend Stella


  1. That's fantastic. What beautiful young women.

  2. There IS good in this world!!!

  3. Kids like that give you hope for the future, don't they!