Each time I see my daughter’s friends with her, I become more and more thankful for their kind, compassionate, caring and loving little hearts. They just seem to “get” her, and that makes me more happier than I could ever imagine.
I’m reminded of a project her class recently did. It was about how we “fill our proverbial buckets”, or our hearts. One classmate raised his hand and shared, “Olivia fills our buckets by sharing her heart with everyone”.
To see how well they get her, blows my mind! The communication connection they have with her is truly within the heart. They don’t care that Olivia can’t speak to them. When they talk to her and ask her to play, a simple smile on her face is more than enough to tell them, she’s in!
I have to remind myself that these kids are only 4 and 5 years old. Their level of understanding and accepting her differences as just part of her, and not the definition of her is remarkable. For that, I am truly thankful for these wonderful, kind souls.
This blog post is dedicated to these kids, my daughter’s friends. The kids that help put a smile on her face each day, that accept her for who she is, that love her unconditionally, who hold her hand when she needs a friend, who cheer her up when she is feeling sad, who celebrate in her accomplishments, and who always go out of their way to say, “good morning” and “good bye” to her each day. They may never truly understand the huge positive impact they are having on her life, but I hope someday, when they are older and look back, that they remember her and feel that in some way she made a huge impact on them as well.
The hardest thing for a parent to witness is seeing their child in pain. Everyday of Olivia’s life, I have witnessed her in some form of discomfort, whether it be pain attributed to muscle spasms in her legs or pain originating in her stomach from severe gastroesophigial reflux disorder. In the past four years, I have witnessed immense courage in my daughter. To live a life only knowing and feeling pain, and still have a positive and inspiring attitude is courageous.
I talk a lot about keeping hope. Hell, I work hard everyday at holding onto it. I hope everyday, that one day Olivia will live a life free from pain. I mean really…is that asking too much?
A woman I met today asked me if Olivia suffers and then said to me, “special children are given to special people”. My answer to her was “no” to both her statement and her question. I told her, I believe when someone suffers, they are pained physically and emotionally. Olivia feels physical pain, but her emotional spirit is so strong, she overcomes suffering and exudes strength. As for her statement, “special children are given to special people”,
We were given a beautiful child, no more special than our others, just one who had to fight a little harder for her place in this world. She came to us as a teacher. A teacher of strength and courage. We were not special people, we were loving parents that would do for her, the same way we would do for any of our other children. She just helped us to find the courage and strength to fight a little harder.
I have learned to take life, one day at a time. Because one day, in our home can mean a day with very little pain for our Olivia. It can mean a day where she can sleep comfortably for more than 3 hours through the night and it can mean she might enjoy a meal without vomiting it up right away. So I’ve learned to have the strength and courage for today for her and tomorrow? Tomorrow is always hope.