There can be miracles, when you believe. That’s one of Micah’s favorite songs. It would be my theme-song for the day, even though it probably would be on the cheesy side.
Today was the first day EVER, since we had Ezra in the playroom all day from 9am – 5 pm. The difference was just incredible. Let me rephrase:
THIS DAY WAS SO INCREDIBLY AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
When Ezra was in the Son-Rise intensive in the playroom from 8-6 all day, we saw a different child. The shackles of his handicap started to fall away, and for the first time we got a glimpse of who Ezra really is. And his soul is so beautiful. I found this image online and I think it sort of shows what I mean.
He would talk with us, was calm, affectionate, sweet, never screamed, yelled or barked. When we returned to Europe he immediately went back to screaming, jumping around, contorting himself in strange positions, and 80% of the time I wondered if I had given birth to a 50 lbs yapping poodle, because he pretends to be a dog. Micah, his little brother, does what little brother’s do best, which is love their bigger brother to tears, by annoying Ezra until he screams/cries/yells/punches. Ezra was constantly overloaded with Micah’s teasing that it was pretty much nothing but screaming in our home. For you who are curious if I’m making this up or exaggerating, here is an audio feed taken with my iPod at 6:30 am some other day. He wakes up every morning at 5 and starts screaming until we all wake up. And then arguing begins.
So how was today different?
In one word: peaceful. There was no screaming, tantrum, or fights. A peaceful lunch for him in the playroom with Kelly, while mommy and Micah ate in the dining room. No fighting to get my attentions after lunch, instead, he was in the playroom being loved, and inspired to interact. And as a bonus, Micah for once was not left being spectator to the parade of lovely people passing through our house, all coming to play with Ezra, not with him, but had my full attention. After all the sessions were over, Ezra was so exhausted, that his handicap again seemed to fall away. He was calm, clear, reacted to what I said, looked me in the eyes when he asked for more food, and even asked me for hugs twice during dinner, which never happens. His brain burned so many calories making new connections, that he ate more than I’ve ever seen him eat before. And I can’t say enough, how amazing it was to see him eat. This is the child whom I couldn’t serve anything but potatoes, pasta, and rice to, without him having a screaming tantrum, who would skip meals for as long as it would take until I gave him his potatoes. I remember the times when he would throw food across the table, and cry for an hour if I just put a piece of chicken near his plate, not to mention something of the color green. I dreaded mealtimes more than any other time of day, because of the fight I knew would ensue. Tonight he ate everything: fruit, cranberry sauce, potatoes, chicken, and even the salad!!! (For my exact dinner strategy to get picky eater to eat, read here).
What does eating have to do with the playroom? He was mentally so exhausted from making connections, that his brain was finally at rest. He spoke so clearly, explained what he wanted and didn’t want, and when I spoke to him he responded immediately. It was truly incredible.
What made the difference? Four letters: L., K., J., and S. (I abbreviated their names, because I haven’t spoken to them about permission to publish their names). They went into the playroom with Ezra and loved, and encouraged him. The results showed! These women are part of our Team Ezra, and today wasn’t a single effort. It was a cumulative effect of everyone who ever passed through our playroom. Every time someone goes into the room with him we see the repercussions, and I can’t help but hope that many more volunteers sign up, so we can see results like this every day. I have no doubt that if we did that he would be able to attend school full time end of this year, as an equal, not as a handicapped boy.
These four women today, have busy lives, and their own fair share of hardships and setbacks. L. is a mother of five, with an incredibly tight schedule and autistic son of her own. Still she made time for Ezra. K. showed up limping with two crutches and an indomitable spirit, despite being in incredible pain because of a sport injury. J. left her adorable one year old girl at home with daddy to show up in full face paint, and spent half an hour drawing rainbows and planets on Ezra’s arm, and S. came despite a difficult personal setback, and came out of her session radiant. They together with our other team members represent the best of the world to Ezra, right there in his playroom. They show him how even despite personal challenges, we can chose to be happy, we can chose how we want to feel, and we can be there for others. They not only inspire Ezra, they inspire me, to want to be a better person. I feel so blessed to have them in mine and Ezra’s life, for however long they stay.
This post is dedicated to you, volunteers. You are amazing. You’re blessing our lives so much. Thank you!