Not everyone is blessed with being able to meet a special needs child at some point in their life. Luckily, I am blessed with quite a few buddies who have special needs. I truly believe spending time with these children is one of the greatest opportunities one will ever come across in my lifetime. Children with special needs are beautiful blessings who teach us so much more than what we teach them, whether we realize it or not. I, however, have realized it. And I would like to thank each one of my little buddies.
Thank you for opening my eyes and mind.
Because of you, I see the world in a whole new light. I have been able to see the world from your perspective, and it is not always a nice place. People can be mean but you don't let it phase you, and it amazes me. You have helped me realize that simple things can be so much greater than they seem. You never judge a book by it's cover. No matter who the person is, or what their background is, you will smile and say hi, and maybe even give them a high-five. Not many adults can do that, and it is truly inspiring.
Thank you for teaching me patience.
The tortoise beat the hare, right? While spending time with you, I have learned that not everyone moves at the same pace, and this is A-OK. It's okay not to walk as fast as the other kids, we are all going to the same place. I love watching you take your time, because you don't rush to the finish line, instead you enjoy every step of the way. Having to explain things over and over is sometimes necessary, and that's okay too. Just because you learn at your own pace does not by any means mean that you won't learn something. Some may say you will learn it better because you have more focus on what you are doing. I am more than willing to wait for you to be ready to take the next step in whatever we are doing, don't you ever worry.
Thank you for letting me act like a kid again.
As an adult, we don't get to do this very often, especially around other adults. But with you, I get to jump around, sing, dance, blow bubbles, read Dr. Seuss books, and watch old cartoons that bring me back to my own childhood. The best part is that you love it. I don't get attitude or an eye roll when I sing songs from The Wiggles or The Backyardigans. You sing along as if I was a kid. If I get the chance to escape adulthood for a couple hours, you know I will, and it is a great feeling and stress relief. Oh, to be 10 again...
Thank you for appreciating the little things.
Some kids are so needy nowadays, but you aren't. One scoop of ice cream and your day is made. A trip to the library to borrow a book is such a treat, and some children don't ever want to step foot in a library, because they aren't "cool" anymore. Why do kids need to buy the newest gaming software as soon as it comes out, along with all of the latest games, when they have a backyard and an imagination? You love going in the car with some music on the radio, and that's the way it should be. The best part is celebrating small achievements. Winning isn't everything, especially when it takes so much time and effort to participate in the first place. I love standing by you as you reach milestones you never expected to reach. Happiness shouldn't be as hard to achieve as some make it seem. You help me realize there is so much to appreciate in this life.
Thank you for making me laugh and smile.
I know if I'm having a bad day I can count on you to cheer me up. Even on my good days, you can make them better. I love listening to your stories. About school, baseball, basketball, going to the beach, anything. Hearing the excitement in your voice about something you did makes my day.
Thank you for never giving up, especially on me.
Sometimes, things get tough. Things are harder for you, and you are so strong for getting through the tough times. Whether it be us not agreeing with what you may want, or possibly me not understanding what you are saying, we get through it. I appreciate every time you've repeated yourself for me, or accepted that I didn't catch onto your sign, or realized that didn't remember to do something. Sometimes I just don't know how I should handle a situation, and I feel awful. But it prepares me for the next time, and you better believe I'll redeem myself. Everyday I learn more about you, and you have never given up on my ability to understand you, take care of you, or be your friend, and I am forever thankful.
Thank you for helping me become a better person.
Your passion, dedication, and can-do attitude have rubbed off on me, and I am thankful for that. You have made me realize that uniqueness is not something to hide, but to embrace. I have also learned to appreciate everything life has to offer, even if it's something small. Most of all, you have taught me to stand up for what I believe in. Some people throw words around, not realizing what they are truly saying. And I now stand up to those people, for you.
Thank you for showing me a love stronger than most.
You have so much love to go around, and it shows. A hug from you can turn anyone's day around. You love so much and so many, and it is so sweet. You are so many people's number one fan, whether they realize it or not. You will still cheer someone on even if they are in last place. I could play my worst game of my life and you will be waiting on the sidelines with a smile and a high-five, and a "good job!" thanks to that positive attitude. I am so incredibly lucky to be a part of your life and be able to watch you grow, but I am even more lucky to be loved by you. And I love you right back, don't you ever forget that.
Thank you for everything.