Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Priceless Moments

Today's gift is priceless moments.

When I woke up this morning I knew it was going to be a great day.  It was also going to be a day of "priceless moments" with our daughter with special needs.

Today, not only happens to be my middle daughter's 8th birthday (how did this happen....8...really, already!?!?), but also International Walk To School Day.  Our school participates in this every year and if you do not live within walking distance to the school, they have a meeting point to walk together as a school community, down the hill to school.  It really is a special day and our school is big on being fit!

In the 4 years our oldest daughter has been at the school, she has never participated in this event, as it is a long walk for her and I didn't want her to get tired before even starting her school day.  My middle daughter has participated the last 2 years with a friend.  However, this year, since it was on her birthday, we decided to make it a family event and walk to school too!

We met at my daughter's friend's house....she is one of her biggest cheerleaders...and walked to school together.  We had her convaid "cruiser" in case she tired easily, but we were secretly hoping she would not need it.  By meeting at her friend's house, we cut out half of the walk....which was a very good thing for my daughter.

She was so excited! I don't know if it was the fact she was walking to school with a friend, if it was she was walking to school, if it was we were together as a family going to school on a school day....I don't know what it was, but she was grinning from ear to ear!  She kept looking back to see the rest of the walkers coming down the big hill towards her.  She definitely, felt like she was one of her peers today!

Seeing her walk to school 100% by herself, with the occasionally hand holding from us or her friend, like her peers was priceless.  I was so proud of her for not giving up and wanting to stroll into school, but for pushing forward and wanting to walk!  Today, 67% of the school walked...roughly 472 students and I am happy for my daughter to be included in this statistic!  

But our "priceless moments" for the day didn't stop there.  As I mentioned, today is my middle daughter's 8th birthday.   Every school year she always says to me, "Mommy, I wish my sister could ride the bus home with me so we could talk about our day together" which I reply..." me too honey, me too".  On Monday, I had this "light bulb" go off and incredible would it be to make my daughter's wish come true.  

I emailed the principal of our school (she is amazingly supportive of our family!) and told her of my daughter's dream every year.  I asked her if it would be possible for my daughter with special needs to ride her sister's bus home with her (and her one to one assistant of course!) on her birthday as a SURPRISE.  When I got the email back yesterday from our principal, I had tears running down my face.  I can not tell you how many emotions I had running through my body....I was happy, I was sad, I was nervous, I was scared, I was thankful....and I am sure I am missing some.  I wanted this surprise to go off perfectly and hope not only would no one spill the beans, but my daughter with special needs would also be on her best behavior and not be having a "moment" before or on the bus.  It was out of my hands and I just had to pray and trust everything was going to work out.

And it did!  I arrived at the bus stop early with two cameras ready to record this moment like it was the Space Shuttle landing!  I had some of my best friends who normally don't come to the bus stop anymore come to witness this moment with me.  Then the bus rounded the corner and was headed right for us.  I was excited just like a little kid when they see an ice cream truck!  As soon as the bus pulled up I saw my daughter.  My heart melted!  I, just like my middle daughter, never thought this day would be possible.  Yes, my daughter with special needs can ride the bus to school, but it is the bus for other children like her.  Yes, she has been on a school bus before with her peers to go on field trips.  But she has NEVER been on a bus with her sister like her peers.

When the birthday girl stepped off the bus first, she was grinning ear to ear.  And then my daughter and her incredible one to one, stepped off the bus.  Both of my girls were still in the shocked oldest as I think she couldn't believe she just rode the bus and I picked her up this time too at the bus stop.  My middle daughter I think was in shock as her dream came true today....a dream she never thought would come true.  She had this look on her face, where I thought she was going to cry when she got off the bus, but didn't want to in front of her friends.  We all walked home, just like everyone else at the bus stop and talked about what my daughter first thought when she saw her sister on the bus.

Actually, when my middle daughter loaded her bus this afternoon, she walked right past her sister and her one to one.  Then someone told her to turn around and she saw her sister....and as she says, "I got the biggest smile on my face and I was so happy!"  I know she was happy, as I could see it all over her face when she stepped off the bus this afternoon.  And when she told her dad about it this evening, she said "dad, it was awesome!"  Just like my middle daughter was happy, so was my oldest.  When I asked her this afternoon, if she liked riding the bus home with her sister, without hesitation she responded, "La", which is her "ya".

These two moments we shared together today as a family are priceless.  We will all remember these special moments for the rest of our lives.  But I don't think it will only be our family who was impacted today by these gifts, but others as well.   All the other children on the bus, hopefully will see how meaningful this "little act" was today to both of my daughters, where as they do it every day without even thinking twice about it.  To them, they probably never thought someone's wish would be to have their sister ride the bus with either they already have this or they don't care either way.  However, they saw today, where one of their own, wished for years to have this day be made possible and on her birthday her wish was granted!

Here are some quotes for today...

Collect precious moments, not precious things; because things can be bought, but moments are priceless- that one rule #917

Live in the moment and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering- Franny Crosby

A priceless gift you can give to someone is TIME.  Because it's like giving a portion of your life that you can NEVER get back- Author Unknown

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