This morning, Ella and I were watching Bubble Guppies. Truly, it's the coolest kids' show around. Anywho. A commercial came on. I'm usually pretty much immune to commericals, but this one made me sit up, take notice and then promptly cry like a baby.
See what I'm talking about? Oh. My. *cue the ugly cry* Darn you, Proctor & Gamble!
Why did that commerical make me sob into my morning coffee? A hundred millions years ago, I worked at HeartSpring in Wichita, KS. HeartSpring serves children with developmental delays/issues. I worked in the residental home with kids that were away from their parents. It was the hardest job I've ever had. These were children that a lot of people had absolutely given up on. Most of them had big issues to overcome and were desperately trying to reach their full potential. It was my job to help them learn to do things like brush their own teeth, get dressed by themselves, and communicate their thoughts/needs/desires. It was my job to push them further than anyone ever thought they could go. And in the end, it was incredible to have a parent visit and see their children do something that the "experts" never thought possible. For some, it was washing their own hands or signing "drink" when they were thirsty. For others, it was learning to make their own bed or setting the table for dinner. No matter what the learned task was, there was nothing better in the whole wide world than watching a parent stare in disbelief when their baby climbed a preverbial mountain. It may have taken months or even years to get there, but the victories were sweet, indeed.
On a regular basis, I wonder what ever happened to the handful of students that I worked with. And then I feel a little guilty for not making it my life's work. I was only there about a year because I quickly became BURNT. OUT. It's the kind of work that is better for saints... or people with endless patience and a thick skin (neither of which I have.) But, I miss my students. And I wonder about them. And I hope that they are still pushing themselves to the limit, defying the collective "they", and making their lives the best they can be. Best of all, children who redefine and challenge the notions of "normal kids" are a good reminder to keep living, keep growing, and keep striving for more than you think you can realistically achieve.
Run on, Molly Hincka. Run on.