Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Another Very Special Birthday Party

We had the honor of attending Olivia's Birthday Party this past Saturday.
Our camera battery died, so we missed out on photos of Olivia opening her presents.
She is such a sweet girl and we wish Olivia a very happy 5th Birthday!

The other part of the story brings me to tears every single time I try to tell it.
(and you guys know I'm not a crier)
The kindness of strangers continues to overwhelm us and the love of Addie's friends is so beautiful to witness.

When I told Addie that we were going to Olivia's Birthday Party, she was so excited and must have asked me a million times about the "party".
Once we arrived, Addie was so happy to see her friends!
When I read the invitation, I had no idea that it would require me to fully participate in the activities - otherwise, I would have showed up in sweats and a t-shirt.
Chris and I had a ton of other things going on before the party, so we came dressed - not in our play clothes.

When we walked in, I kicked off my boots, rolled up my jeans (yee-haw) and got to the business of helping Addie.
The activities started with the children running around the obstacle course.
Addie couldn't keep up - of course - so we took it at Addie's pace.
She got to try out the spring board and big tumbling mats
and stopped long enough to make sure that Jack made it too.
Addie's friends were running around like crazy, but it didn't bother either one of us that she was so far behind her friends.
It was great to see what Addie could do!
The inflatable castle tried to eat her, but she finally managed to find her way out.
Running like crazy through the maze.
...and this is when it all changed...
Addie was ecstatic to be with her friends and was not bothered one single bit because she couldn't keep up with her friends.
I was perfectly fine with it too.
Things like that don't upset me because I focus on all that Addie can do and more importantly, I see how Addie's friends include her and encourage her and somehow, everything really is OK.
The coaches at the party were very encouraging to Addie and at some point, it must have really clicked because one of them came over and started to help me with Addie.
The balance beam was pretty much impossible, but with help, we made it all the way!

Addie stayed in line with her friends and listened intently to everything the coaches were saying.
Up next was a slide that had to be at least ten feet down into a pit.
The kids slid down and ran up the other side and jumped into a huge foam pit.
Addie and I stood on the side watching them in amazement.
We were fine just to watch and Addie was so excited for her friends!
The other coach asked me if Addie wanted a turn and I told her that Addie was fine and was happy just to watch.
The coach must not have been content just to have Addie watch because she offered to go down the slide with Addie..
and she did...
and then both coaches helped Addie back up and into the foam pit.
Addie couldn't make it out, but Chris and I let her try and try until she started to sink and I had to grab her before she fell through the foam!
Next, everyone got a chance to jump down the first trampoline and back.
Addie did a great job "jumping"!!!
But her attention was focused on where the rest of her friends were...
The coach tied a knot in the enormous rope and the kids each hand a turn swinging - so incredibly high!
This had 100% of Addie's attention, so I took her over so that she could watch.
When the coach asked if Addie wanted a turn, I once again politely declined.
Addie knows how to hold on, but she doesn't understand the consequences of letting go when she is on a swing.
Once again, the coach wasn't content to let Addie just stand by and watch.
She told me that she would not take her hands off of Addie

and she didn't
not even for a second.
It was an opportunity that I was OK to let pass by Addie, but instead it was an opportunity placed in our path.
Such a little Monkey!
Next came the zip line!
Wow...these kids are so brave!
Addie was such a joy to watch as she watched her friends!
...and wouldn't you know it...
The coaches insisted that Addie have a turn too!
Next came the BIG trampolines!
Addie patiently waited - knowing she would have a turn too!

and she did!

When we attend a birthday party, we have no expectations for anyone to go out of their way to help Addie in any way.
We are there for Addie's friends and if Addie can't do something, we either find something she can do or we watch her friends and we are fine with it.

What these coaches did for Addie is beyond words.
They had no reason to go out of their way for her.
It slowed down the party and it took enormous effort on their part.
Addie's friends never complained and they were so helpful and encouraging!

As the party went on, it started to sink in.
Chris and I would look at each other, but couldn't say anything.
It was truly overwhelming.

I have no idea if the coaches even have a small inkling of what they did for us.
They created memories for us and gave us an opportunity of a lifetime for Addie.


Monique said...

Wow reading this made me tear up here at work. I think sometimes we forgot how truly caring and wonderful people can be. I am so glad to read that they are out there and your Addie was a benefit of them. Merry Christmas!

jennohara said...

Thanks for making my day with this post! Addie is so blessed to have such amazing friends and opportunities. The pictures are priceless.

Mary said...

Addie is such a joy! We all rejoice in her desire to join the fun. I know you must have been a bit frantic to see her jump in the pit and swing on the rope and zip line, but all of the adults were cheering her on from the balcony. I also gave a prayer of thanks that everyone was safe and happy after the party. Olivia loves Addie so much and was so happy that she came to her party! Mary

Alyssa said...

What great pictures!! You all are a beautiful family! It is so easy to go about your everyday life and forget to celebrate life's amazing gifts. I love reading your blog because you do just that...always celebrate life's precious gifts!

Jennifer said...

Wow! Tears of joy for a day full of new experiences with kind coaches!