Our Extra Special Valentine’s

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It never ceases to amaze me the moments that come around when navigating a new journey.  Especially experiencing all the emotions that come with it.  This week was one of those times where I felt like time just stood still and I was truly in the moment faced with another eye-opening and sobering experience.  Tuesday was Valentine’s Day, a holiday that I am not that fond of because to me, you should be expressing Love to your husband or wife everyday like it is Valentine’s Day.  This Valentine’s Day though changed my mind about what it means in my life and proved to be an extra special day for my husband and I.

Wyatt had his very first Valentine’s Day Party at his School and we were invited to join in!  Wyatt is in a Special Education classroom that has 2 special education aides and 1 special education teacher.  These ladies are a blessing and I can’t express how much I just love them and how they love my son on a daily basis.  The other children in Wyatt’s class are like him and have a diagnosis of Autism.  We were given the opportunity to not only partake in our son’s day, but in their day as well!  My husband and I were the only two parents that made it to the party.  Many parents are not as lucky as we are.  Many work during the day and probably don’t have as  much flexibility in their work schedules to take time off for special events like these.  It was all the more reason for us to take this experience in and just love on all these kiddos!  I felt really honored to be there.

During the party we sat with everyone during snack and got an inside look at therapy in action.  Wyatt and his peers receive a modified more flexible version of ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) Therapy which is a therapy that has proven to be the best for children with Autism.  During the day Wyatt and his peers are asked to request for what they want repetitively so that they develop speech and develop other areas of everyday functioning.  It is designed to help these amazing kiddos find their voice.

I became very emotional watching as Wyatt and his peers worked SO hard to sit through snack, request, and “interact.”  During the time we were there for his party I was amazed and just filled with pure love and joy watching these kids work hard and manage all the sensory input that was being thrown at them.  At times it became very overwhelming for some, while others, like Wyatt were oblivious and in their own world.  As a parent I experienced a variety of emotions watching this all unfold.  Sadness, heartbreak, joy, pride, but, most of all LOVE.

I can’t help but think about how much we as “typical” human beings take for granted in our everyday lives.  The ability to do everyday tasks at ease as well as just experience the world around us at ease.  Those with developmental and physical disabilities don’t experience that.  Everything is work for them.  Which makes them extra-ordinary and in my eyes the most amazing Human beings.

Valentine’s Day for me will never be the same again and this is why.  I had NO IDEA the plan God had for me when we were faced with the diagnosis of Autism with Wyatt.  I still have no clue what the full plan is, but it is slowly coming into formation.  My love and admiration for those with special needs is growing and it has started because of my son.  Every year on Valentine’s Day it is my goal to make these extra special kiddos feel extra special love, I am not sure what that will look like, but I am sure God has a plan for it.  My definition for Valentine’s  Day has changed in my mind.  Yes, it is for showing your significant other love on that day, but I think for me, it will be about having many extra special valentine’s not only just my son, but for his peers as well.

 

Live Wonderfully Made!

-Carolyn

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