Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Little Boy's Christmas Dream

It was Christmas time when I went to pick Dear Son up at the daycare center. Actually, it was only a few days prior to the big day and traffic was busy. The rules were you had to be there by 6 p.m. or it was $10 for every minute after that. I worked about twenty five minutes away from the daycare center but closer to Christmas time, you never could predict how long it would take to get here. Some days, it might take twenty minutes just to go through a stop light, making the 6 p.m. rule a lot more difficult.

Dear Son was ten at the time, a tall thin child with a big smile. To say he was slim, was almost an overstatement, since most slim pants would fall right off, but his slight frame made him easier to lift. The woman who owned the daycare center, was very stylish, and very nice. She was always dressed to the nines and it was hard to believe that she ran the center, let alone take care of the children, but she did just that. And she did it extremely well. She had a very warm personality that was felt by everyone who came into the center, most importantly the children.

I had moved here six months ago, after selling my home, to live closer to work. I had been having difficulty in hiring sitters to come to my home and I thought if I moved closer to work, I could find a daycare center that might take Dear Son, and it would solve the problem. She had agreed to meet Dear Son and try it for one week, to see if she could handle a disabled child at the daycare. While legally they can’t exclude disabled children, most daycare centers will not take them, since they don’t have the adult to child ratios to support their care, even if they had the knowledge to care for them, and or their medical issues. I had been getting a bit desperate in my search to find a place, since I had been turned down by three daycare facilities so far. Most were so busy and disorganized, that I am not certain I would have felt comfortable at any of them, but I had to keep trying. She on the other hand, met with me and agreed to meet with Dear Son. I had told her that he was in a wheelchair and could not walk or talk and was still in diapers. I said he was very easy going and that I was looking for some daycare for two hours or so after school. The bus would drop him off at 3:30 p.m. and I would pick him up around a quarter to six. She agreed to try it for one week. I was ecstatic.

Dear Son was there one day when I came to pick him up. She told me it was not a problem and that they wouldn’t need the one week trial since he was just fine; he could stay. He was the only disabled child in the daycare, and the only one they ever had to this day. She was very hands on with the children. In addition to herself, her two daughters worked there along with several other caregivers. The daughters would tell me stories of how the kids would fight over who gets to feed Dear Son, stories I had a hard time believing, until I saw it for myself. I walked into the daycare center one day and there was Dear Son, sitting in his stroller, with one leg crossed over the other, and a pretty little girl sitting next to him, holding his snack cookies. Dear Son would open his mouth and she’d drop one in and then eat one herself. No words were exchanged between the two, but both were happy. I marveled at how Dear Son was able to get people to help him.

So on this particular night, I rushed in to get Dear Son prior to the 6 p.m. closing. I was exchanging pleasantries with the owner when a small young boy, around five years old, came up to me. He had thick, light brown hair, big blue eyes and a beautiful complexion. He touched my hand to get my attention and I looked down at him. He said, “I had a dream last night about Dear Son”. “You did,” I exclaimed. Before I could say anything more, he replied, “I had a dream he could walk.” Suddenly, my heart melted and nothing else seemed to matter. I knelt down by him and looked into his eyes. Tears welled up in my eyes and I told him that was a beautiful dream. I said, “I wished Dear Son could walk too.” With that, he went on to tell me all of the details but for some reason, I didn’t hear anything after that. At that moment, I knew that Christmas had indeed arrived.


neonataldoc said...

Kids are great, aren't they? You can see why people go into pediatrics.

Anonymous said...

The beauty of this story took my breath away. I will remember it for a very long time. Thanks for sharing.

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