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"A Brave and Daring Girl"

Most people figure if you've got a mental illness, you're probably...weird. Off balance. Off-putting.

If you also happen to have cognitive disabilities - a lower IQ - then...you're really sunk.

Dark-Haired Daughter has both. She has bipolar and a relatively low IQ. And it is hard sometimes, for her and for us.

Yesterday, Curly-Haired Daughter and I were having a conversation about Dark-Haired Daughter. Dark-Haired Daughter's been through Hell the past few months - being sexually assaulted, long-term hospitalization, being away from home. But there is much to admire about her.

When she was abducted, she managed to escape what we have come to believe is a sex-trafficking ring. It is a bit hard to piece her story together, but she said she was in a house where there were several other girls, all locked in separate bedrooms, with their clothing taken away. She managed to get away by taking the key from the pocket of one of her abductor's, wearing only a sheet.

Curly-Haired Daughter said, "She is a brave and daring girl. I swear, if she was in a train when it collided with another one, she'd pop out, and drag other people with her."

The next time you see a mentally ill person on the street, or on the bus, or next to you in the pew, and your reaction is to inch away, be careful. They might just be a super-hero in disguise: a brave and daring person, who has saved a soul or two.

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Crossing Guard

I saw you
today
as you guided
your little man across that busy street.

You were wearing some
big man boots
and
watching cars and lights.

Your little man had on
black sneakers and
a Mickey Mouse hat
that bounced
as he walked.

He wasn't watching nothing but
your big man boots
and
the white stripes of the crosswalk.

Just before
he got to the sidewalk again,
his step bounced a bit
- he hopped over
a spot where the asphalt broke.

You turned to look,
holding out a hand to
your little man.
Not rushed or angry,
just making sure
he got up
on that sidewalk.

Then you walked on,
in your big man boots,
face into a cold Michigan wind,
with the little man behind,
his hat bouncing.