18 October 2013

Field trip's a trip

Remember how fun field trips were when you were in school? It was a day off from school work, we didn't have to sit in the chair all day and work at the chalkboard, and we got to do something interesting and exciting, something out of the ordinary. Normally the highlight of the week was getting picked to go outside and clean erasers, seeing how many words you could spell before the chalk dust faded away.

I still remember some of my favorite field trips though: getting to see how milk was bottled, going to the fair, seeing the local community theater, and visiting the fire station.

Liam got to go on his first field trip this week. He got to go bowling! I heard he had a fabulous time. I would have seen it first hand if I'd gotten my hiney out of the house and over there on time but I got so wrapped up in writing that my morning turned to afternoon before I even looked at the clock. I rushed to school and met them coming back in. His teachers filled me in on what I'd missed.

 Liam is a lefty, whether by nature or necessity we don't know, but apparently becomes a righty when it comes to sports. They said he used his right hand to roll the ball down the frame. He even bowled a strike! They were all so excited for him that they cheered and hollered. But that made him cry because he can only handle mild excitement over his achievements. Too much enthusiasm and he has a break down. Seriously, he will bawl if you cheer for him.

Not one to quit though, he soldiered on and finished up two games with a score of 96 and 112.

He even got a medal.

That's my little dude; having a field trip day to remember.

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16 October 2013

First School Pics

You need to hear this back story.

It's Liam's first picture day for his first year of school. This momma thought it was later on in the week so I didn't have him wearing any cute clothes. He shows up for school wearing his Jack Skellington tee. Like a boss.

When I find out they are doing the pictures I asked them if they could just make sure he's looking at the camera and to take the photo with his neck brace off and arms down. He has enough gear around all the time that not capturing it in the photo would be a bonus.

When they got down to the photographer they told him they would have to do some wrangling and fidgeting and lots of prep to get Liam positioned right with his arms down, head straight, and looking at the camera.  The photographer, apparently a manly type man, had told them he'd seen it all so it was no biggie. He would snap away while they did their job in order to get a good photo.

Here's what he was able to capture.

Look at how thrilled he looks.

All the fuss to get him in a good position, to take the photo, the bright lights, the camera, and all the action was just too much in the end.

A few seconds after this photo was snapped Liam hurled all over the place. This rough and manly photographer who had seen it all and could handle anything bolted.  Liam's teacher and aid were left to try to manage him, his now nasty clothes, and get him out of his chair to clean him up.

It's all good though. Nothing like baptism by vomit. His aid and teacher have officially been brought into the fold. I don't feel so all alone now.

I was super excited to get his pictures back knowing the story behind it. And then I was extremely disappointed when I got them. I can deal with the no smile, but seriously, a photographer that touts he's 'been there, done that' doesn't even have the knowledge to take a photo that doesn't put a glare on Liam's glasses?  And he didn't notice the big buckle hanging in midair by his head from where his bag accidentally got left on his stroller?

I would have thought more of a man who'd 'seen everything'.

Lucky for Liam, he gets a redo. Let's hope the photographer is better prepared.

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What's Wrong with Him?

I don't know if you remember this post I did on the old guy who had to hold his teeth in place to ask me, "What's he have?", but it was the first time I'd essentially been asked by anyone what was wrong with Liam. He took me off guard not only how he asked but also by how he worded the question. I really couldn't get past the stupidity of his question let alone how he asked it.

Today I was holding Liam in the waiting room at his therapy practice when a sweet little boy kept staring at him. I would look at the little boy and he would grin back at me. After several shared smiles he finally gained the nerve to ask me, "What's wrong with him?" 

Liam has so many issues that scream, I'M UNIQUE that it kind of makes me surprised we haven't gotten it before now.

I had prepped in my head for a while now what I would say when that question came up. But wouldn't you know I lost all ability to respond the way I wanted to? So I just smiled back at him and he smiled at me and turned back to the movie playing quietly on the opposite side of the room.

No matter that I didn't answer, this cute little boy was not done with his curiosity. He looked back around to us and smiled again when I caught his eye. He pointed at Liam and asked me again, "What's wrong with him?"

This time I was able to get the words out. Ready to explain, I asked him if he knew how he gets a boo-boo. He nodded his head yes. Then I told him that Liam has a boo-boo too but his is on the inside and you can't see it. I told him it was in his head. I started to go more into what the boo-boo means for Liam specifically, but with his curiosity satiated, he turned back around and glued his eyes to the movie for the remainder of our time in the waiting room.

I actually ended up disappointed that I didn't get to go into further detail to this little boy. I wanted him to ask more questions so I could give more answers. I wanted him to know that it was ok to be curious, that Liam wasn't something to be afraid of. He wasn't something to look past and pretend wasn't there. I wanted him to know that his curiosity was a good thing and that it's the only way people will see special needs kids as equals is if they learn more about them. I wanted him to know what was 'wrong' with Liam.

The natural curiosity of a child is a beautiful thing. It's how we will raise the newest generation to appreciate and value differences in all of God's children. Sowing into kids the worth of each person no matter their abilities will bring about adults who don't stare and ask, "What's he have?".

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03 October 2013

Broken Values

We were talking tonight about value and purpose in people with a disability and I was reminded again how important people with disabilities are to this world. Statistics are showing that in Europe, 92% of babies diagnosed with Down's Syndrome are aborted and by 2030 Denmark will have seen the last baby born with this condition. Can you imagine a world with out disabilities? What are we telling our children? What are we valuing as a people, as a society?  It seems to me that we are beginning to leave a legacy that says you have to be perfect to be here, that unless you are free of a disability you are not valued, not worthy, and not wanted.

But that is just not true.

People with disabilities are wanted. What society looks down on our heavenly Father adores. Those whom society mocked, Jesus touched.  He values them all. In Luke 18, Jesus' disciples rebuked the blind beggar, thinking Jesus had more important, better things to do than to speak with him. However, Jesus stopped and he healed that blind man. He took time out for the lowliest of the low and touched him. What Jesus own friends viewed with dismissal, Jesus lifted up.

Liam's buddy B
Liam's life is full of value. I'm not just saying that because I'm his mom, I'm saying that because I truly believe it. This world is a better place because he exists. Not only is his life valuable, he gives value to others. I have seen the joy he brings to others, all with out saying a word. Liam even has a best friend at school.
While Liam may not know he has a best friend, Liam has brought value to B's life because B values him as a best friend and B brings value to Liam's life because he loves on him unconditionally and with no pretenses. I would say that's a very worthwhile, valuable relationship right there. Both of them, full of worth, and very loved, even in their brokenness.

But most of all, God loves and values Liam very much. In the scriptures God is always on "Team Weak". In the OT God even displays his wrath against anyone taking advantage of widows or orphans by putting them to the sword. He takes it seriously that we should be caring for those less fortunate. In Psalm 82: 3,4 God presses us to defend the weak and fatherless, to maintain the rights of the poor and the oppressed, to rescue the weak and deliver them from the wicked. That sounds to me like a God who cares very much for people with special needs, doesn't it?

In Matthew 25: 34-46 Jesus speaks of the separation of the sheep and the goats. He spoke about giving something to drink to someone thirsty, food to those who hunger, clothes to the needy, etc... He explains that when we do that for the least among us we have done that for him.  It is supposed to be an honor to help those who can't help themselves. God is compassionate and we are to be as well. God created us in his own image, not for us to feel superior to one another or look down on those less fortunate. We are to lift them up, love them, feed and clothe them, and value them because each person has God given worth. We mimic God when we mimic Christ's service to others. And it is in the lowly, the weak, and the disabled that we see purpose beyond ourselves, purpose that brings us closer to Christ and shows us how valuable it is to have a world full of broken disabled people. I wouldn't want a world with out it.

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