Having Elise, I get to step back and view things differently. I get to experience holidays slower than most because I have to and thankfully get to. I can't help but be grateful that Elise is teaching me to slow down and enjoy what's around me in the moment.
Easter egg hunts with Elise means performing an act of service for someone who can't do it themselves, getting 20 candies rather than 100, and slowly walking from candy to candy rather than racing to get the most.
Halloween with Elise means slowing down to her pace. I decided instead of her sitting in the stroller watching her siblings run from door to door I would help her. Many would probably say, "Why don't you just leave her in the stroller? It would be easier."
I agree. It would be easier. It would be a whole lot easier to let my older kids run from house to house, collect their candy and us be on our way home.
Nothing that is worthwhile is easy.
I believe that every opportunity is a learning opportunity, for good or bad. If I had gone the easy route I, as well as so many others, would have missed out on a wonderful opportunity. I was reminded of what an Apostle of our church has said, "We would do well to slow down a little, proceed at the optimum speed for our circumstances, focus on the significant, lift up our eyes, and truly see the things that matter most." President Dieter F. Utchdorf.
What mattered most during that hour was my children and watching the joy that came across their faces. Elise was part of that and as I slowed down, proceeding at the optimum speed of our circumstance that night, I was overcome with joy and gratitude.
I admit, at the beginning of trick-or-treating I wondered if pulling Elise along from door to door was worth it. She screamed, tried and sometimes did, walk into people's homes, and grabbed handfulls of candy that I had to put back and apologize to the owners.
I wanted her included. I wanted her to be a part of our family's festivities rather than an observer like she so often is. Mostly I wanted more than anything was for her to feel included; that she belongs and is loved. After awhile, Elise got the hang of it. She soon realized that going from door to door meant candy and became almost giddy. Her silly giggles came and that smile that melts my heart came as well.
At each door I had her touch on her ipad, "Trick-or-treat." As she touched it, the ipad spoke for her. Not only was Elise able to say trick-or-treat through the ipad but those who listened to her stopped for a brief second in hurrying to hand candy out to "awe" at her. It was a very sweet experience. One man said in a most sincere way, "Wow!" After she was given her candy I had her touch and say, "Thank you." She eventually was able to touch both buttons independently.
This was work. It wasn't easy nor convenient carrying an ipad around and having to stop the person at the door to wait until Elise said her trick-or-treat and thank you. The payoff was worth it though. She not only brightened each person who listened to her, but I knew she felt included and loved.
I LOVE being a mom to my 5 kids; one with special needs. There is no greater joy than being a parent! I love each one individually but this blog will mostly focus on our daughter with special needs and our journey with her. Thanks for reading!