Can I Sit with You?

An Open Apology to Kirk

By: mom2spiritedboy
Age at the time: 6

Dear Kirk,

I am sorry that I did not stick up for you more in the first grade
I am sorry that I didn’t ask you to come to my house to play
I am sorry that you didn’t get to live with a forever family
I am sorry that the kids at school were so horrible to you
I am sorry that they called you “Kirk the Jerk”
I am sorry that I do not remember your last name

If I could have it all to do over
. . . I would have played with you at recess when no one would, EVERY day, not just sometimes
. . . I wouldn’t have let go of your hand when we were walking home and other kids were coming
. . . I would have shared my Jos Louis with you on the field trip and sat with you on the bus
. . . I would have been your best friend

I am glad that I kicked those boys HARD with my Cougar boots that day they were bullying you after school. I wish that there wouldn’t have been a need for anyone to have to protect you – I wish people could have been nice to you and that grown ups would have made the world a safer place for you.

I think of you often. I feel much shame and sadness for the things that never were and all that should not have been. When I watch my son as he struggles so much to fit in, I often think of you. I will do better by him than what was done for you.

I am sorry and I hope life got better. I hope you found someone to sit with on the bus and who would share their lunch with you.

Summer Before Second Grade

Gerard Sarnat MD
Age 6 at the time

Outside home, digging rich loam coated with city block soot,
I notice a carrot-topped frecklyface
against the inky flaming sunset.

Auburn, fair, and more than a bit stippled myself;
fingernails chock full of dirt;
uncertain why; I leave the boys to move my bones closer.

At first I circle in, pursuing nearer and nearer until I just
plop down beside the new girl.

Never before thusly stirred to thrust my body,
the world mocking me, a bushel of apples
crushing a soft tomato.

Still — eventually gathering steely courage,
not sure what I’m doing –before I know it, I lean over
and at the tender age of six, cannot resist the bliss,
plant my first non-family kiss in our neighborly wading pool.

Can I Sit With You? LIVE!

Our first-ever Can I Sit With You? event was a smashing success! Liz Henry, SJ Alexander, Sarah Glover, and Michael Procopio all read their stories from the Can I Sit With You? book. Then we sold a gazillion copies of said book. And then — in an act of generosity that would have gotten Shan teary even if she hadn’t knocked back two beers to combat severe stage fright — host (and CISWY author) Cindy Emch donated the entire night’s proceeds to SEPTAR! All told, we wrangled $400 for those adorable kids and their families and teachers. *Sniff*

If you didn’t have the good fortune to attend, check out our brand-new Flickr photostream for documentation. If you were there and took pictures, please link them up. And don’t forget to add us as a contact.

Host/Organizer Cindy Emch
Cindy Emch sporting the world’s greatest tattoo

We gots the videos, too! (Please excuse the Cinéma-Vérité camera action. Again, there was beer.) Have a look at the excerpts:

Liz Henry reads from The Sex Change of Zyax II:

SJ Alexander reads from All’s Fair in Love and Mucus:

Sarah Glover reads from Love Hurts:

Michael Procopio reads from The Sound of Musicals:

Thanks again, everyone. More events and more authors will be coming, so if you couldn’t make this one, stayed tuned.

Happy New Year!
January 8, 2008, 6:34 am
Filed under: "Can I Sit With You", New Year's Resolutions, winter break

Winter break is over and our kids are finally back in those lovely, wonderful schoolyards.

Now that we have half a moment, can we say how nice it is to hear that your list of New Year’s Resolutions includes writing a story for the second edition of Can I Sit With You, and poking your friends and family to do the same? Thank you. For our part, we promise to publish at least one story per week in 2008, starting Wednesday, January 9th.

If you have half a moment yourself, please check out Jen’s interview about the making of Can I Sit With You?, on Blooking Central.

December 13, 2007, 6:00 pm
Filed under: "Can I Sit With You", fundraising, philanthropy, special needs kids

Can I Sit With You? is the #762 book in sales on!. This may not seem like a big deal, but when you consider that the book I bought my brother for Christmas is #23,216, then our rank is remarkable. We’re so happy, so grateful for everyone’s support.

Keep spreading the word! Keep telling your friends to buy this wonderful, helpful, inspiring, reasonably-priced book. Use the special education angle if it helps your argument; after all these years of parenting special needs children, we’re not above a wry little knife-twist to the guilt/philanthropy section of anyone’s heart, if it’s for the greater good.

Can I SIt With You? News
December 11, 2007, 6:38 pm
Filed under: "Can I Sit With You", advocacy, blook, blooks, charity, fundraising, special needs PTA

Can I Sit With You? is on a tear. At this moment we’re the #813 seller on (we started out at 22,000), we’ve sold almost 250 copies, and we’ve cleared almost $1300 in direct donations to SEPTAR. Thanks so much, everyone, and please tell even more people to buy our book!

In other, also very exciting news:

Beth Kanter featured Can I Sit With You? as one of her charitable holiday giving recommendations for the BlogHer holiday gifting guide. Thank you, Beth!

We have also been featured at Blooking Central, a blog all about [blogs+books=] blooks. There may even be a follow up Q&A on how we made CISWY happen, so stay tuned.

Our local library is very excited about Can I Sit With You? and wants to set up an author’s event, since our book features so many local writers. Again, we’ll post updates as we receive them.

Locals who would prefer to get their hands on a hard copy of CISWY right now can do so at Main Street Coffee Roasting Company or Canyon Coffee. Both places feature fantastic, roasted-on-site coffee.

And, finally, we will be hanging with our Blogosphere buds at the BlogHer Holiday Meetup on Thursday in San Francisco. If you ever wanted to see just how tall and striking Jen is, or how short and fuchsia-haired Shan is, then come on by. Just don’t forget to RSVP.

Personal Letter Promoting Can I Sit With You?
November 29, 2007, 7:36 am
Filed under: "Can I Sit With You", special education PTA, special needs kids

If you’d like to tell your friends and family to BUY BUY BUY about Can I Sit With You?, feel free to use the following letter:

Hi Folks,

Looking for that perfect holiday gift, the one that will both please its recipient and make its giver feel good?

Can I Sit With You? is a book co-edited by special needs parents Shannon Des Roches Rosa and Jennifer Byde Myers. It is a collection of stories about schoolyard social experiences, both good and bad. All proceeds from the sale of Can I Sit With You? go directly to SEPTAR, the fledgling Special Education PTA of Redwood City (

These beautifully written, heartfelt tales should speak to anyone who has ever struggled to fit in with the other kids at school, wondered about feeling different, or felt like no one could possibly understand what they’re going through. We hope they will inspire elementary and middle school students, or at the very least temper their bewilderment as they grapple with issues such as popularity, making friends, puberty, sexual orientation, religion, race, special needs siblings, and bullying.

The stories are told from the point of view of the former students, in their own words. We did not censor the profanities a former eight-year-old screamed at the boys who beat up her special needs brother. There is no preaching or patronizing. As one reviewer wrote, “Perhaps the most important lesson in all of [the stories] is that the writers all survived and grew up to have something to say, and a place to say it.”

We think Can I Sit With You? is a wonderful book. And we would be so grateful for your support. You can purchase the book and have it shipped to you or your friends directly at:

Happy Holidays,

Shannon and Jennifer

P.S. Can I Sit With You? is also an ongoing blog project. You can discuss any of the stories in the book, read new stories, and submit your own stories at /