Last night I spoke at an appreciation event for the board members and the donors of Young Audiences at a swanky hotel. This was after spending a week presenting to the children at a community center in the first ward where an 8 year old is telling me about his mother’s boyfriend beating him and giving him a black eye and he has to live with his father now. Another 10 year old child telling me she can’t live with her mother because of what she does to her because of the drugs. Pushing these stories down, I hustled home to change and off to the appreciation event I went. It was a tiny event. Maybe 20 people were there. As soon as I got there I was lead around and introduced to the board and the donors then introduced to present the room why their support was so important for projects like MMM. At the end I read a handful of children’s quotes that I held in my hand from hours before. At some point I noticed there were people crying. After the director closed I was bombarded. A gentleman stood in the back fixed on me waiting to be last to speak to me. He introduced himself. It is too emotional and sensitive to fully express here, but he needed to tell me his mother (who is passed) was a burn survivor. 95% of her body was burned when she was 10 years old. She was an artist. He said I remind him of her. By this point he was falling apart and yet somehow he was smiling. When he hugged me he squeezed me so hard I lost my breath. I am having trouble interpreting all of this. It has all been a lot to take in, in one day. I am depleted. I keep seeing the deep pain in David’s eyes as he spoke about his mother’s disfigured body. Her arms unable to move out fully. But I’m somehow restored in his smile, in this story worthy of preserving. They told her she’d never walk and she did. That they told her she’d never move and she became an artist. They told her she’d never bare children and she had David.