Back in August of this year, a talented director friend of mine, Maciek Sokalski, approached me about an opportunity for my boys to appear in a commercial he was entering into an Asics/Footlocker ad contest.

Though ultimately the piece didn’t get chosen as one of the five finalists (WHAT?!!!), it deserves to be seen. Maciek did a beautiful job capturing the lives of four real runners, one of whom is my son Ian. Ian loves to run, and he loves his brother Andrew, and being active is one of his favorite ways to spend time with his sibling.

The way Maciek captured my sons’ relationship is so authentic to who they truly are individually, and as a team. I’m incredibly happy at the way Andrew, who has special needs, is portrayed in this piece. There is a moment where Andrew is flapping his hands and it’s so beautiful to see; there was a time we were convinced by professionals that our son’s hand flapping was a maladaptive behavior. We’ve since grown wiser, and now not only appreciate, but treasure this non-verbal form of communication he engages in. It’s such a joy to see it part of this ad.
Every story in this commercial is worth watching; every individual is a real runner, who has a really good reason to get up and go. For Ian and Andrew, the bond between them is their fuel, – and mine as well – and I cannot get enough of the way their love is portrayed here.

I hope you take the time to watch the piece; it’s only 2 minutes long. And if you’re like me, and you want to see more of our unique families depicted in national ad campaigns in positive ways that foster inclusion, share this far and wide. Let’s get the word out!

I Run Fo(u)r from Maciek Sokalski on Vimeo.

I can’t wait to hear what you think!

Click here to check out more of Maciek’s amazing work!

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We have 8 years before it happens to him.

If time has taught me anything, it’s that she waits for no one, sneaking up behind you while you plan and ponder and erroneously assume she will be generous and accommodating.

22 is the magic number.

The ledge is always there. In the beginning it looks so small you have to squint to really make it out. You’re too busy hoping and dreaming to really notice it anyway.

Each year though, it gets easier and easier to see until you’re so close you can’t take a step without falling and then that birthday comes along and someone shoves you all off before you can say, “Wait! We’re not ready!”

Oh but they try so hard to make it a happy occasion; caps and gowns in royal blues, tassels for those who manage to tolerate them. Sometimes there are two or three students at a time, sometimes just the one. No matter how many, the stage is always too big, the audience too small.

There is no valedictorian.

No one announcing Johnny’s college plans or Becky’s sports scholarship award.

The music is faint, the applause scattered.

I once sat next to the parents of one of the graduates.

They tried so hard to look happy and proud and in their own way they probably were, but their exhausted eyes deceived them, weathered hands gripping each other, knuckles white against the strain.

I wanted to make small talk, but I couldn’t summon “Congratulations!”

I probably should have kept my mouth shut.

In the end, the words came out anyway, awkwardly slipping past my lips before I could stop them.
“What now?”

They started back blankly.

I wanted to climb the stage, take the microphone from the teacher’s hand.

“WHAT NOW?!!!”

Instead, I made promises I couldn’t keep to people I didn’t know.

“It’s going to be okay.”

Then I counted backwards in my head

 

We still have 8 more years.

 

Maybe things will be better by then.

Maybe someone will think of something by then.

Maybe they’ll get rid of the ledge by then.

 

F@$#%.

 

We only have 8 more years.

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Why I’m Letting My Son’s School Records Be Shared with California Concerned Parent Association

There’s panic swirling among many parents in California, after Judge Kimberly J. Mueller of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California ruled in favor of California Concerned Parent Association and Morgan Hill Concerned Parent Association, granting the two non-profit parent-run groups access to nearly 10 million California student records. California Concerned Parent Association (CPA) [...]

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Autism and Wandering: Keep Our Kids Safe

In 2004 our son Andrew was diagnosed with severe autism (by today’s DSM-5 diagnostic standards, a level 3 in severity). Since then, the amount of sleep we have lost worrying about our son’s safety cannot be quantified. There is no chart or graph or equation in existence that can statistically depict the fear we feel [...]

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Breaking News! People With Autism Are Among You!

I have a little secret to share with you. Come here. A little closer. Okay, you ready? There are people with autism among you. In fact, you may be standing next to a person with autism RIGHT NOW. I’ve included a visual aide to assist you in the identification of someone with autism. Pay close attention so [...]

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She Was Me.

He was supposed to play in his first Challenger baseball game of the new season this morning, but instead we found ourselves at our local Children’s Hospital emergency room, making sure Andrew’s foot wasn’t broken. (Never a dull moment around here, that’s for sure). It was there that I first spotted them; a father and [...]

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We Should Have Had More Kids, Right?

The panic washes over me suddenly while I’m in the shower. We should have had more kids, I think to myself. “WE SHOULD HAVE HAD MORE KIDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” I scream to my husband, the words piercing through the hot steam, penetrating my heart, echoing through me until they settle in my soul. There is silence on the other [...]

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The Night Before

It’s the night before Andrew’s first day of school. For many years this night held a mixture of excitement and anxiety for me, and after his new outfit and shoes were laid out, and his lunch box was packed, and his backpack was filled with shiny new school supplies, I would lay wide away in bed, endless questions [...]

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Special Needs Parenting: Don’t Ever Look at My Son That Way Again.

Disclaimer: I don’t care where you stand on the vaccine/autism issue. I have friends on both sides of this heated debate and I have friends who are right down the middle. And if I dislike you, it likely has nothing to do with your opinion on this subject and everything to do with you being [...]

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A Letter to an Impolite Cowboy

Dear Impolite Cowboy: I saw you on the track this morning, wearing your giant hat, walking your tiny dog, sweating through your wrinkled flannel, and I thought nothing of you; just another passerby, enjoying the same space, the same sun, as humans often do. I jogged towards you, my favorite song pulsating in my ears, my [...]

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