Giney and Austin

My mother, Giney Laning, always smiled. She smiled through the scraped knees, measles, chickenpox, broken bones and broken hearts of six children. Through graduations, weddings and funerals her smiles provided comfort, warmth and pride. To her, the glass was not only half full but she could assure you that it would never empty. "Things could always be worse", "Look on the bright side," were the affirmations by which we lived. Her smile wasn't reserved for the family. It also encompassed the many friends who streamed through the house. Also included in her smile's warmth were the many students she taught. If someone had a problem she was there to listen ... and smile. But she had a special smile for my "special" son. They shared a bond that transcended time and daily discourse. When they were together, time stopped for them Whether it was a trip to the library or watching games shows, they loved their time together. They could just simply "be". She gave total, nonjudgemental acceptance to this autistic boy. Their time together was special to the end. When she could no longer communicate well with words, they would simply sit holding hands ... and smile. - Dee Austin, Bridgeton

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