story fam

story fam

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Autism Walk

Team Story
Me and my baby

Gramma Choo Choo, Pat, and Michael

Peris getting her arm painted

Ella posing

Fiona and her dragon

Emmy and her best friend Joseph

Mike and his silly face

Today we went to the annual walk that benefits the Autism Society of McLean county. It was a beautiful day (a little humid so I did get a tad sweaty) for the walk. I was amazed to see how big the event has gotten since our first walk 3 years ago. When we left, the society had surpassed their fundraising goal of $20,000!!

This year as Emmy and I walked together I pondered all of the things that we were told she would never do: walk, talk, run, make eye contact, have meaninful relationships with siblings/peers/family, learn to read/write, attend a typical school. I looked down as we were on our way and saw this beautiful little girls who is doing all of the things listed above and so much more. Each day with Emmy is a bonus-she is proof that God does live today! Looking at her and seeing how far she has come is in fact evidence that there is a God who works miracles on a daily basis. She turned her little face up to me as we were walking along and she said, "I love you so much Mom." 3 years ago I prayed at night that one day she would speak. That one day she would look at me with recognition. That the efforts and sacrifices we were making would in fact pay off. That some where out there was hope. I have heard her voice. I have heard her laughter as she plays with her sisters. I have heard her sing. I have seen her interact with children at her typical preschool where she has MANY friends. I have felt her chubby little hand on my face when she looks me in the eyes and tells me a story that she has made up (she is in fact very creative). And most importantly, I have seen God answer my prayers.
Michael and I also shared some special moments. He too has untapped potential and limitless opportunity. I am reminded today that because of so many loving and concerned people he has been built up in the school setting rather than left behind. I see a smile that replaces a sad face, a reader who loves books, a little boy whose heart is so big that he knows no one that isn't his friend. I wonder if Michael will ever know how his diagnosis penetrated my very being. How through him I learned a new level of humility and compassion. How my heart broke when I was told that he would never have, or value, typical friendships and how I rejoiced when I saw this become untrue. How I have learned what love really is and how important it is to not be afraid to show that love to everyone. You have never seen anything as beautiful as my son walking into a room full of elderly people (at the alzheimer unit where my grandmother lives) without any fear and work that room handing out hugs and smiles without one bit of self consciousness. My son is being Jesus to these people. He is a light in a dark world. He is energy, fast movement, laughter, anger, passion, joy and excitement. These are the things that define my only little boy-these things that make him great. These things that have taught me that a diagnosis does not define who we are or what we can do. It was an exceptional day.

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