Beauty in the World


What is beauty? Sometime it’s evident by obvious physical characteristics. Sometime it’s right in front of you and sometime you have to search. Sometime it’s beautiful from the beginning and sometime what starts out ugly turns into something beautiful.

Amid the tall palm trees and cerulean Atlantic shore, Castaway Cay would be a great place to spend eternity. At least my wife thinks so. This is where she would like her remains to be spread one day. The 1,000 acre paradise serves as an exclusive port for the Disney Cruise Line. I just hope the lush bougainvillea and Bahamian calypso tunes create a big enough distraction. My plan is to carry her ashes in a tequila bottle. She prefers Jose Cuervo. As I bask in the warm tropical sun, I will say good-bye one margarita glass at a time. Cade was only three years old on our first visit to this private oasis.  It was then that Julee fell in love with the place.

There is beauty in the world. What an amazing creator we must have to spawn such splendor. My wife Julee, on the other hand, is far more beautiful than all 1,000 acres combined. She doubts herself at times. However, that’s one of the things that makes her so beautiful. My friends in the fashion industry may not realize this, but she finds it intimidating being in a room full of flawless fashion models. “Skinny bitches,” that’s what she calls them. She does it anyway. She loves each and every one of those skinny bitches and means it as a term of endearment. Her love and support for me make her even more beautiful. I could go on and on but at some point you would get sick of hearing and click the “delete” button. There’s one aspect of her beauty, however, I just can’t ignore. The love and sacrifice involved with raising my son is worthy of a monument rivaling the Taj Mahal. Unfortunately, I am not so wealthy and I would have to construct such monument from clearance items bought at the local Hobby Lobby.

There is beauty in the world. Raising a child with disabilities is grueling. It’s easy to be overwhelmed with grief when thinking of the life that could have been. However, it’s beautiful appreciating the life that is. Sometime we don’t appreciate our own beautiful lives until we realize how screwed up life is for others. Some people call this, “counting your blessings.” I call it, “not counting your troubles.” It’s the only thing keeping me from being a raging alcoholic.

Most mornings with my son are challenging. It’s not uncommon for me to look like a cage fighter by the time breakfast is over. The key word there is “over.” When it’s over, it’s time to move on. There is no time for grudges. On the other hand, there is plenty time for forgiveness. Forgiveness gives me the opportunity to enjoy the many beautiful moments shared with my son. Forgiveness is a true thing of beauty. Forgiveness gives me the strength to appreciate days like today.

 Cade and I sat down for the breakfast I just prepared. Close your eyes and imagine an elegant dimly lit brunch; the type you find at a fancy five star resort. Now open them and find a couple bowls of Captain America cereal and an IPad playing random nonsense Cade finds on YouTube. In case you’re curious Captain America cereal is just re-shaped Alpha Bits cereal with marshmallows resembling Captain America’s shield. Nonetheless, it was quality time.

Allergies in the Carolinas are a bitch. Before long I began to sneeze. Sneezing always makes me nervous. Why? Because I know that if I am sneezing Cade may soon be sneezing. The problem is that allergies trigger Cade’s migraines. Our giggling father and son time ended with a torn shirt, cracked door, broken lamp, scratched arms and Captain America marshmallows up my nose. What a crappy way to start the day. In fact it was down-right ugly.

However, that doesn’t mean it has to end that way. I sent Julee out for some retail therapy. It would have been nice to spend Mother’s Day together but in this house you just learn to go with the flow.  Gone was my vision of Ward and June on a Sunday stroll with the Beaver. Today my Beaver was more like the pissed off dog in Stephen King’s Cujo. I kissed Julee good-bye and re-entered the boxing ring.

A couple hours later a friend messaged me asking how my day was. This was my reply:

“Good. Of course my definition of good some would call chaos. I call it beautiful chaos. My son had a migraine and took it out on the furniture and my arms. However, once his thunderstorm was over we hung out, watched Agent 007 kick ass in Spectre and had Chinese take-out.”

Today, what started out ugly turned into something beautiful. I grew up on the bayou near New Orleans. If you ask me, James Bond and Chinese food go together like red beans and rice.    

There is beauty in the world. Cade attends a school for children with developmental disabilities. Being in the fashion industry I have seen many beautiful things; beautiful garments, beautiful people and beautiful places. However, nothing compares to the beauty I witness at his school every day.  The love and compassion shared by the staff of Webb St. School is the type of beauty that makes painters paint, singers sing and writers write. This beauty inspired me to gather my friends in the fashion industry and make the following announcement.

Join us for a fashion event unlike any other. Webb Street School in connection with Heartfelt Fashion will be hosting a show that spotlights true beauty. Webb Street School serves children ages 5-22 with special needs in the Gaston County School District of North Carolina. A Night of Connected Fashion will give children with developmental disabilities an opportunity to shine like never before. The children will have their hair and makeup done by top professionals. They will be fitted and styled by area designers and boutiques. Professional models will be coaching the children to help boost their confidence. When ready, the children will be given their moment to work and own the runway. Fashion photographers and local media will be in attendance to cover the event. Proceeds will go towards an all-inclusive, accessible playground.

The event took place in the school’s gym last week Saturday, April 30, 2016 and it was a huge success. Of course, the kids stole the show. Please see the links below for photos from the event.

Kelly Jude Melerine