Simon | Things You Have Taught Us

Today I'm sharing a little project Katie initiated. We invited a few important people in Simon's life to share what they've learned from him.

Documenting the stuff that matters. This is it.

From Mom:

  • Simon you have taught me to celebrate and find wonder and awe in the smallest things.

  • Simon, your presence in my life has taught me so much about what it means to be a human: compassion, strength, resilience, kindness, humor.

  • Simon you have taught me to keep moving forward.

  • Simon you've taught me to believe in magic.

  • Simon you've taught me to embrace imperfection and to go with the flow.

  • Simon, I am such a better person because you are in my life.

From Dad:

  • That I can appreciate routine.

  • What is truly important in life.

  • What truly unconditional love is.

  • To see how harmful judgment can be.

  • Previously I did not know that I could experience so much wonderment over anything.

  • The value of routines and planning.

  • Just because a kid learns differently than the standard system accommodates, doesn't mean they can't learn.

  • So often he's capable of more than I had previously realized.

  • How much my presence or lack of it likely affects my own parents.

From Grandma Pati:

  • Simon has taught me how wonderful it is to be a Gramma.

  • Simon has taught me the excitement of running down the sand hills.

  • Simon has taught me how awesome it is to watch movies together.

  • Simon has taught me and reminded me how special a nightly prayer is.

  • Simon has taught me how fun it is to dress up for Halloween, even if you're a Gramma.

From Grandpa Al:

  • We need love. Simon has taught me to express love.

  • Simon has reminded me so often that we all are searching for something that we are yet to find.

  • Simon's smile is full of the warmth that God has provided. His ability to redirect his focus after insurmountable odds shows all of us we can adjust.

  • Tension is present in all of us. Simon exhibits his frustration in a simple straight forward way. Right or wrong it is Simon and in many ways it is all of us.

  • Simon has a unique gift to tune out the rest of us. Is it not a gift that we all aspire too? His ability to tune back in with motivation shows his interest to be relative within our family. God bless Simon and God bless our family.

From Auntie Liz:

  • He was the first one to teach me about the love of an Aunt for a Nephew.  And boy did/do I.

  • He has taught me to sit and enjoy a few kids programs on television with my own kids as a way of entering their little world and sitting with them for a while there in that world.

  • He has taught me the art of balancing pizza on three fingers while under consumption.

  • He has taught me how sweet a smile is when genuinely earned.

  • He has taught me about the importance of pirates, both in history and in today's world of "intruders" and what not.

From Auntie Jessica:

  • Simon has taught me about the unconditional joy that lives deep within each of us and it's the ultimate pleasure to witness him living those moments when his squeals of joy fill the world.

  • Simon has taught me about a love that transcends what most consider to be a "normal" mind - for in what may be considered by some to be a setback, he has excelled beyond my expectations in so many aspects of who he is. His hugs are better and more meaningful than most because they are 100% heartfelt and authentic.

From Jeffrey:

  • Power of concentration: how to concentrate on one thing and block everything else out especially as relates to Legos.

  • To act out any movie part spontaneously.

  • That the force is with him - when he was randomly selected to go through Jedi training at Disneyland and achieved a lifelong goal of becoming an honorary Jedi knight. I wish I could tell you how happy I was that day.

From Paolo:

  • Simon has taught me about paying attention and being aware of specific details. His memory and ability to recount stories and shows is amazing and has always impressed me and motivates me.

  • Simon also has taught me that sometimes we're just not in the mood - and that is OK! I really love that Simon is Simon and he is completely authentic - sometimes when I visit he wants to hangout with me and other times he doesn't - that's not only OK, its something I should remember that is ok in my own day to day, when I'm feeling my own moods.

From Katie:

  • Simon has taught me how special it is to find joy in the little everyday things,

  • Simon has taught me the worth of going just a little bit out of the way of your own personal convenience to achieve happiness for another person. Those smiles and hugs are so so so worth it.

  • Simon has taught me how special a bond can be between two people.

  • Simon has taught me how delicious refried beans + cheese + chips are.

  • Simon has re-taught me my love for The Goonies and Home Alone.

  • Simon has taught me there is always time to be silly and fun, even when you are supposed to be serious.

  • Simon has taught me to savor those big after school hugs he is just so good at giving.

127 thoughts

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  1. Susan C

    2013-01-10 06:55:51 -0500

    Wow what a validation of love, we should all do this for all of the important people in our lives. Super idea, kudos to Katie for coming up with the idea.
    Please post Anna's comments when you ask her, would love to hear her comments.
    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful, uplifting idea, Ali.
    And Simon, you rock!

  2. Erin H

    2013-01-10 09:23:45 -0500

    Just amazing. I love that the whole family and everyone that is a part of his life is involved.

  3. Claire

    2013-01-10 11:45:21 -0500

    To laugh or to cry? A little of both at the same time I think. I was especially moved by Grandpa Al's contribution. Quite amazing to hear an older man openly express such emotion and sentiment. What a lovely post, and what a beautiful thing for Simon to have. Thank you for sharing Ali.

  4. Nancy L

    2013-01-10 12:44:18 -0500

    You have a wonderful family and friends and having followed Simon over these years in your blog, he has taught us all a lot. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Dawaila

    2013-01-10 12:55:58 -0500

    This is amazing. what a treasure! Have been looking for a project to do for my son, 22, who will be moving out soon. Think this is it.....Thank you as always for the inspiration.

  6. Aline from Germany

    2013-01-10 16:01:23 -0500

    Ali, Love this idea! So nice and lovely words, even if I don´t understand every single word!

  7. Tinka

    2013-01-10 16:51:01 -0500

    Guess it's a good thing my boss left for lunch just before I started reading your post, since I am now wiping the tears from my face! It has been as much of a joy to "watch" Simon (and Anna, of course!) on his journey, as it is watching my nieces and nephews grow. Thank you for sharing, and for the inspiration!

  8. michell

    2013-01-10 17:42:31 -0500

    What a beautiful idea! I am definitely going to do something like if for my son Zach who is also autistic. Looking forward to reading what Anna has learned from Simon. Thanks so much sharing.

  9. Mallory

    2013-01-10 21:27:26 -0500

    Beautiful words! Simon is an awesome kid!

  10. Kellie

    2013-01-11 02:16:17 -0500

    I think you and your family have an amazing way with words, and that you and Simon should write a book. I'm sure that the two of you could help so many families, in so many ways. Maybe half of the book can be from your point of view, half from Simon's. Thanks for sharing your stories.

  11. Jenny

    2013-01-11 09:58:10 -0500

    This is my favorite post from you ever, Miss Ali -> Hands. Down. Favorite.

  12. Carolyn HP

    2013-01-11 13:09:34 -0500

    Oh Ali, I too was moved and I'm at work trying to hold back tears. Katie is awesome, and I think adding Anna's perspective would be awesome so kudos to the person who thought and commented that. I hope you keep this for him as he perseveres through the crazy world we live in. I too as one of your readers and scrapbooking internet friends, feel he has grown so much since I've followed the stories you share about him on your blog. Thanks for such a lovely share today with this.

  13. Michelle

    2013-01-11 14:28:46 -0500

    What a lovely and beautiful post. I love that I can discern the different "voices" of the various people who wrote each list. What a treasure for Simon to have this.

  14. Michele H.

    2013-01-11 15:59:43 -0500

    This post is all kinds of AMAZING! I love watching Simon grow and evolve:) He is surrounded by wonderful & kind people. I love that!

  15. Amy J

    2013-01-11 23:20:35 -0500

    This is amazing inspiration! I've requested important people in my children's lives do this for each of them as a Valentine's Day gift. What a lucky boy Simon is to be surrounded by so much love! Thank you Ali!

  16. Wendy

    2013-01-12 01:41:37 -0500

    A beautiful thing. I've read about Simon over the years. My cousin also deals with some similar issues. How wonderful this is. It brought tears to my eyes.


  17. Deb P

    2013-01-12 10:12:15 -0500

    That is awesome! I love how it is a family project!

  18. Dolly

    2013-01-12 11:54:59 -0500

    In a world where all of us want to feel relevant, necessary, needed and loved...this affirmation is proof that not only does Simon exist, but how special, loved, and unique he truly is. How wonderful to show someone that you love just how meaningful their presence is in their lives. Ali, this is so beautiful, thank you for sharing your heart...whenever I see a quote about finding what you are passionate about and giving everything you have to embracing are one of the first people that come to mind. God gave Simon to you because only you could be his are a gift from Him to many because you share the story

  19. Monnah

    2013-01-13 01:42:26 -0500

    Wow! I'm so happy and grateful that I read your blog today. I really wish everyone would give this gift to their children.

  20. Amanda

    2013-01-15 13:41:04 -0500

    Love it but what about what he has taught you?

  21. Alison

    2013-01-16 18:55:47 -0500

    love everything about this... everything

  22. Deanie

    2013-01-19 13:04:30 -0500

    I think many of us have watched Simon 'grow up' through your scrapbooking pages and stories and through it all, Simon's love for life has shone through. This is an amazing tribute to him, and to your family. Ali, thank you.

  23. Beatrice Farnum

    2013-04-15 22:37:34 -0400


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