Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Peachy Day

Waiting is hard. So hard. It's hard for me, and it's especially hard for Ian. That is why I did not tell him that his custom painted shoes from Peach's Neet Feet were coming UPS this week. I was tracking them semi-obsessively. 

Peach's Neet Feet is a great non-profit organization that creates custom painted shoes for kids with chronic illnesses or conditions. Wonderfully talented artists donate their time - and wonderfully generous people donate the money for the shoes - so that kids can have their name and their favorite things on shoes that are just for them! It's such a simple way to bring happiness to a child.

When I filled out the application for Ian's shoes, I asked that they please make him "Adventure Time" shoes. In case you don't know, "Adventure Time" is a cartoon about a boy and his magical dog that go on adventures and defeat evil. Ian really loves it - and Justin and I don't mind watching it either. It has themes about doing the right thing, helping people, and being a loyal friend woven into the episodes - that's why I thought it would be perfect to have on Ian's shoes.

The shoes arrived yesterday while Ian was at school. I couldn't resist opening the package and taking a look! Ruben, the artist who painted Ian's shoes, did not disappoint!

This morning before school, we had Ian open his shoes.

He was amazed! He said "Whoa!" when he saw Finn and Jake on the first shoe, and he was even more excited to see his name on the other shoe! He pointed right to it and said "I-A-N! Ian!" 

He didn't really even want to put them on because he wanted to just hold and look at them. We finally convinced him that if he put them on, he could wear them to school and show his friends in kindergarten.

Thank you, Madison Steiner of Peach's Neet Feet, for doing this awesome thing for kids. Thank you, Ruben Gomez, for taking the time to paint Ian's awesome shoes. Thank you, Trace Brewer, for sponsoring Ian's shoes. Your kindness has put a smile on a little boy's face today, and that little boy's smile puts a smile on his mommy's face, as well as happiness in her heart. Thank you so much!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

That Look

Today was a beautiful fall day in Wisconsin. It was sunny, warm, and wonderful. Ian went off to school as usual, and Lydia and I headed to the Milwaukee County Zoo for a morning with the animals. About an hour into being there, we came across a large group of special needs kids with their caregivers, obviously on a group outing to the zoo. Most of the group were in wheelchairs, and my best guess is that they had cerebral palsy. Lydia, not at all shy, ran around among them, happily chattering about the lions and the tigers. The parents that were with the group were watching her with smiles, but there was something else there too. I thought to myself "I know that look. I've had that look!"

That look was the what if? look. 

What if my kid could run around the zoo like that little girl? 

What if my kid could talk to me about what what they're seeing and thinking right now? 

Since Ian wasn't with us at the zoo, these parents had no clue that I also belonged to their what if? club. They couldn't know that I've spent many an outing with Ian, watching the other kids with a little envy and thinking what if? 

While I definitely love and accept Ian just the way he is, it is impossible for me to shut out all those little what ifs? - especially when we're someplace where we're surrounded by typical kids doing things, well, typically. 

I can't help but think what if Ian could run and jump like the other boys on the playground? Or what if Ian could run up to me and tell me about his day or something he's thinking? And on and on.

I've had to learn not to let the what ifs? consume me, because that does nothing to help my life or Ian's. I have to concentrate on helping Ian become the best Ian he can be. I don't want Ian to dwell on the what ifs?, so I shouldn't do it either.  

As for today, it was a chance to enjoy a nice day with Lydia. As the younger child, she doesn't usually get the kind of one-on-one attention and alone time with her parents that Ian enjoyed for almost three years. She really had a great time. :)