I was checking an all but obsolete Hotmail account I used back in college.
Hi Amanda
That was what the subject line said. I hesitated for a moment, spammers have gotten so crafty, but I decided to click it anyway. I know, I live on the edge.

It was from a guy I went to school with, back when I was very, ahem, unfocused, and he was, well he was focused. He was more than that, he seemed to be operating on a different plane. He had a calmness, a wisdom and an ability to accept things and people in ways that the rest of us in the department simply did not. He was mature (Ok, let me amend that because he doesn’t sound human. He actually had an impish, immature sense of humor sometimes) and he was kind, and if ever he erred and was not kind, an apology quickly followed. Through the years we have exchanged the odd email, but never anything with any consistency. Yesterday’s email was nothing more than this:

Hey, are you still at this address?

He signed his name and below that was what I think must be something that is attached to every email he sends out.

Thousands of people (mostly girls) around the globe have Rett Syndrome, including my daughter.
Find out more about Rett Syndrome at: Rett Syndrome

I had no idea what Rett Syndrome was and was actually a little confused. Did he send this to me to let me know about it or is that just there? I clicked the link. I went immediately to the FAQ section.

What is Rett syndrome?

Rett Syndrome (RS) is a unique neurodevelopmental disorder which begins to show its affects in infancy or early childhood. It is seen almost exclusively in females, although it can occur rarely in boys. It is found in all racial and ethnic groups throughout the world.

The writing was clear, but the material was a bit too dense for me as I tried to keep an eye on my work computer, a hand on Avery who was nursing and calling out the occasional, “Yes, baby, that’s right,” to Briar lest she think I was ignoring her. I’ll come back to this later, I thought to myself.

Later came when David sent another email.

“Did you watch the video on the rettsyndrome.org web site (at the bottom of the page) with Julia Roberts? It’s a very good video to watch.”

I clicked again. I watched the movie. It is indeed very good. The message is one of hope and of strength. Roberts does an incredible job of using her celebrity and her status as a mom to make her impassioned narrative credible. Something happened during the movie, as I watched all those little girls, all those daughters and remembered David in college.

Something clicked, the way it clicked for me when I read this. The difference between my daughter and his daughter is but a couple of letters. Whether you are a mom in Denver, a dad in Washington, or a family in Nova Scotia, every story out there could be your story. Every daughter or son could be yours.

I’ve never met David’s daughter, or his beautiful son, but I know that they are wonderful. Wishing I could do more, I am doing what I can. The purple hands down there will, if you touch them, take you to the Rett Syndrome website. I think we all need to do a little more clicking, a little more touching hands and a whole lot of counting our blessings.

Go kiss your kids, go hug your parents and when you get a chance, touch some hands. It helps.