Among the photos my mom recently gave me is a picture from my law school graduation.
I am standing in front of the Renaissance Building in Detroit in a black gown, looking ready to take on the world, my cap askew, my feet askance, my face adorned with a wide grin.
There are other photos. My Holy Communion day in a frilly white dress that I didn't want to wear, that covered bandaids from falling on roller skates. (I did like the white patent leather shoes, however.) My eighth grade graduation picture in a gold gown, standing with my grandmother. Baby pictures and a picture of me as a toddler in a plaid jumper suit holding my teddy bear.
"What was its name?" Meredith asked.
"Bear," I said. "Original, huh?"
"That's okay, mine was named Panda."
"Clearly we're both creative geniuses," I said.
We laughed. Then Meredith looked at me and said 'I've never seen pictures of you standing before."
There was silence for a moment. I realized that I don't think about standing - at least not literally- anymore. In older photos I am standing and now I sit in a wheelchair. It just reflects the way I move in the world - or moved in the world at that time.
Moving in the world is the important thing, as far as I'm concerned. And I have a great story about a shaker and a mover today.
Ben Berlin , a high school junior, is the first person on the autism spectrum to serve as a Congressional Page. He's also a member of JROTC and is an ambassador for People to People this summer, traveling through Europe.
He plans to attend college and possibly major in engineering. I look forward to seeing his graduation pictures.
[image description: 17 year old Ben is shown,dressed in a plaid jacket and a white T shirt, standing in front of the Shaker Heights Naval JROTC emblem, which is a gold eagle over a ship with the words encircling the image.}