Wednesday, May 14, 2014

My Life Changed

I feel a compelling need to give credit where credit is due.  I wrote a couple days ago about our amazing experience at KayLeigh's classroom and didn't elaborate enough on what  made that day so amazing.  The majority of my post was to emphasize my fear as a mother of a special needs child when it comes to him being accepted and treated like any other child.  I live with that fear everywhere we go, including the grocery stores, amusement parks, doctors appointments, and even family functions.  When we are around people who don't understand why Carter is different, they tend to stare and sometimes give us funny looks.  I am sure I get the same feeling in the pit of my stomach as parents of typical developing children when they get looks for their child acting up in the store.  No parent wants their child to be judged or for their child to act up.  Even the best parents will have children who act out or make mistakes.  And for that exact reason, I feel awful that any parent might feel like I pinpointed their child as a bully.  I NEVER in a million years meant for my post to sound that way.  ALL kids at one time or another, have said something to another child that hurt their feelings and on the same hand, have probably been teased themselves too.  It happens at every single school, classroom and playground in the world.  Even children from the best homes, will have bad days and do things out of character or that they don't mean.  When I mentioned the boys who had teased my daughter and son at one point or another, but explained how they were the boys who amazed me the most, I meant it with all the best intentions.  Those boys are the ones who made that day so wonderful.  It's like getting a compliment from someone you least expected and how it means so much more to you than when your mother tells you how great your new do looks.  It's the unexpected moments in life that touch us the most.  It's not that I ever doubted those boys would accept my son with open arms, but they went above and beyond what I ever imagined!  They taught me so much that day!  As I lived in fear of bringing my child who vocalizes loudly, pokes his eyes, bangs his head and has mood changes at the drop of a dime, I wasn't sure how ANY of the kids would respond to him.  It was a new experience for me, which is always scary.  And those kids showed me what compassion and acceptance truly look like.   I was the one who walked in that classroom that day with negative feelings and doubts while the kids were excited and enthusiastic to meet Carter.  I was the only person in that room who was worried and at my weakest moment, those kids lifted me up and gave me a newfound hope and happiness that I hadn't found yet in our journey.  They renewed my strength when I needed it the most.  Those kids may not have even realized that day what they did for me, but it's a day I will never forget!  Every single one of them, especially those boys, changed my life.  It wasn't just a great day for me, but for KayLeigh and Carter as well.  I want to thank the parents of all of those kids, for raising such loving, smart and kind children.  Those kids made a difference in my life and I know that they will make a big difference in the world throughout their lives.    
Below is a picture of the toy that a child gave Carter at the end of our visit and for so many reasons, this is cherished by our family!  It is truly amazing to me that he even thought to give Carter a gift, especially one that he worked so hard for.  It was more than just a gift, it was a symbol of friendship between that child and my son!  I was literally brought to tears when he asked me if he could give it to Carter.  This toy will be kept among the many treasured items we have kept along the way.

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