After several weeks observing in the Green Therapy Pavilion on Wendell Foster's Campus, I knew the day was coming when I’d have to stop “observing” Nicholas. After almost two months of physical therapy (PT) and speech therapy observations with him, the day came in which I had to break the news to the little thief who stole my heart. It was the hardest thing to do. Why?
For starters, Nicholas filled with excitement upon seeing me every time I arrived to watch his therapy sessions. What gal doesn’t want a fella to feel like that when he sees her! Second, hanging with Nicholas, his grandmother Mimi (who actually has a real name; it’s Linda!), Miss Sue and Miss Michele was fun. I learned a lot, got a little exercise playing T-ball, and his observations were the highlights of my day, and usually my week. I left feeling good about life, inspired after watching this courageous young man face his challenges, and more importantly, strive to work around them if not overcome them. Finally, Nicholas simply elicits joy in my life, in everyone's lives. And it’s not just Nicholas, though he’s holds a huge soft spot in my heart; all of Wendell Foster’s peeps fill me with joy, and that is why I love my work.
At the last PT observation, I told Nicholas I wouldn’t be coming anymore to watch his therapy. His disappointment rang obvious as he kept asking me why; how do you explain to a little boy you have other job responsibilities, other people to observe, blogs to write, presentations to give, programs to manage, yada, yada, yada? Nicholas saw his T-ball team losing a player; perhaps, maybe, a friend or “playmate” not being around anymore. I promised Nicholas I’d come visit him at PT once in a while to see him.
Later, when I did visit with his Mimi to get more information for the blog, Nicholas exploded with excitement to see me. Man, did that make my month! Both his Mimi and his therapists tell me when he arrives for his appointments, he asks about me, and where I am. A few weeks after ending my observations, I decided to get some photos of Nicholas playing T-ball outside during his PT. Again, he didn’t know I was coming and his excitement upon seeing me filled my heart. And of course, not surprisingly, Nicholas made sure I was taking pictures of him, instructing me to get ready as he made a hit, or prepared to go down a slide in our Sensory Park.
My family held an estate sale after shortly after ending my observations, and Nicholas and his family dropped by. Evidently Nicholas didn’t know where he was going and upon seeing me, he was simultaneously surprised and befuddled as he kept asking, “What are you doing here, Miss Carolyn?” After explaining it all to him, he stuck to me like glue while his mom and Mimi shopped and I helped customers. T-ball season began and plans to watch his first T-ball game fell through when rain cancelled it, so we planned another date to cheer on Nicholas when he takes the field. Just yesterday (at the time of this writing), Nicholas “tryked” his way down to my office in the Administration building to say “hi” during his PT session. Miss Sue said he again asked for me, so they decided to swing by and pay me a visit.
Nicholas is such a blessing in my life, and I have no doubt in others’ lives. What a valuable and significant contribution he makes to this world by simply being him! I think about him all the time, and ask both Sue and Michele when I see them how he’s doing in therapy. I keep up with him on Facebook through his mom Carol, and occasionally run into Mimi at the school where she works when doing community presentations. And occasionally Nicholas drops by my office during PT to say "hi."
And who says it isn’t a small world? During observations, I learn Nicholas is my neighbor who lives just down the road from me. Once in a while I see him riding on their “Gator” with his mom or Mimi. I’ll honk as I go by on my way home from work when Nicholas playing in the yard, and he's fussed at me for not stopping to visit him, so recently I did. I received the grand tour of his playroom, the swimming pool area, and his collection of several battery-operated vehicles just his size.
Keep going, Nick! Keep going!
In the Next Blog Entry: The McRap: “Joey breaks into his McDonald’s rap for everyone in the department. Willie grins at me as he listens . . . . . verbally tells Kristy and me, ‘crazy’. . . .”
Blogger's Note: Stay tuned for "the rest of the story" with follow-up chapters on Nicholas' T-ball adventures.
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