This particular season of my life is one I’ll never forget; it was a turning point you could say. I was searching for something I thought I wanted in a career, when all of a sudden something different came along and it was more than I could have asked for. Like serendipity. I think of how God works in His loving and adoring ways . . .He knew how much I needed those little angels in my life as it was also the time I became sick with a disease that started hurting my body. I remember my first couple of months with the children, how I could effortlessly pick them up and put them on a swing or help them get across the monkey bars or chase them on the playground. That quickly changed one morning when all of a sudden I was barely able to get myself out of bed. Around half of the school year left was a struggle for me. I was no longer able to pick them up or run like I used too. The disease spread to most my joint tissues and it killed me that I wasn’t able to give 100% of myself to the children. I became weak and slow. However, I didn’t quit. Each of the children in their own special way taught me something amazing. More than anything, helping others with disabilities brings joy to my soul and peace to my bones.
October 8, 2013
I started working with children with special needs on September 11th. I have since been moved around from the SSN classroom to now the CSD classroom (autistic classroom). I honestly can’t see myself doing anything else for 7 hours a day than helping these children. I absolutely LOVE being in children’s lives. Sure they’ll occasionally kick me, spill food on me, run away from me down the halls, go missing, talk back to me, throw fits or kick walls. . .but they also will laugh with me, run away from me when I’m chasing them on the playground, giggle with screeching delight when I catch them, hug me randomly, cuddle on me when we’re reading, or smile at me when they see me walk in their classroom to pick them up. I could go on.
Just today little “S” and I were working on colors. He would say “graph” when I held up the color gray yesterday so we worked on the color gray together and today he remembered how I was helping him do it! Now when I hold up the color gray he says, “GRAY!” He’s smart. They all are just so smart! Some know all the colors and numbers up to 100 and are fascinated with everything when we hit music class (they’re adorable when they lightly tap the piano– not so much when they’re throwing flutes on the floor or kicking drums heehee!). Some need correction and we are also there for that, but thankfully the whole day isn’t filled with using your mama voice on them. A lot of the time they just want a good ole fashioned pat on the back. And let’s be real here– the discipline part to these kids is so tough for me. Real tough.
Maybe some days I’ll go home more sore than others from running all day or I’ll become just really exhausted, but I always have this huge smile driving home. I don’t remember the times when any of them were being bad, just the times when they hugged me, laughed with me, or when little “K” asked me to chase her around the whole playground and through the tubes (I paid for that later). She was screaming with delight the whole time and this is enough for me; being with children that are so often misunderstood.
It’s about changing their lives everyday I go to work one little step at a time. If during the whole day I could only get one of the students to behave and sit down quietly in one of their classrooms for more than 30 minutes, that’s enough. My patience shows through the most where I work. It teaches me God’s patience and I am humbled. Wow, God is so patient with us. If this requires patience. . . I sometimes wonder how God does it when He’s waiting for us to turn back to Him when we’ve gone astray? Food for thought.
When recess comes, I become over-protective. If I see teasing you better believe I’ll say something (I only had to do this twice, but I wish bullying never existed) and then I have eyes like a hawk (insert creepy hawk sound). Though I am specifically watching the kids I am in charge of, I see teasing all around and not just with the special needs kids. I help in whatever way I can. I’m not perfect, trust in that, but in my heart it feels like I’m filled with God’s milk and honey everyday from the joy of his beloved little children. As if the moment one of them grabs my hand my veins pump faster with God’s love. It’s like my shot of espresso for the day when one of them starts off my morning with a tight hug– though most mornings one of them is spilling their milk all over their tray or crawling under the cafeteria table!
I don’t know where I’ll be after this job but the one thing I’m sure of is my heart grows more everyday I’m surrounded by God’s little ones. It’s about the children, not me. I am just a vessel spreading the best of God’s love that I can to these children. All I want in life is for God to use me for the betterment of children’s lives and what He wills, all the days of my life. One of the greatest quotes ever was by C.S. Lewis, “Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.”
I’ve learned in life that sometimes you don’t find your different passions when you’re desperately seeking. Sometimes passion comes and finds you in a place you never knew existed within; this is what I experienced. These children now hold a special place in my heart. I suppose working with special needs children has its tiring and frustrating moments but more than not, it is full of an indescribable joy only you can find out once you’ve worked with them. They insert a new joy into your veins that makes your heart ache even thinking about the day when your time with them will end. They’ve changed my life and I am forever grateful for what they have taught me; and what I will be taught in the future as well.