Our Journey Raising Two Children with Special Needs

This blog chronicles our life raising two children, Nicholas 14, diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome and Weston 17, diagnosed with Autism/Asperger's/ADHD. It's the ups, the downs, the joys, the sorrows and most importantly, the beauty of living a life less perfect, a life more meaningful.




Sunday, September 16, 2012

Stop and Smell the Lemonade

The week before school started, my ready for a job son, Weston asked me if he could sell lemonade.

"Yeah!" echoed Nicholas, anxious to get in on any of Weston's summer action.

"Alright,"I said, "But this is your show. That means you need to do everything, including making the lemonade."

"OK Mom, I will!," Weston said excitedly as he buried his head in my freezer looking for the lemonade.

He grabbed my Tupperware pitcher, filled it with water and stirred the frozen glob of lemony goodness with a wooden spoon until it disappeared, coating the kitchen with large puddles of clear sticky syrup.

He found some poster board and crayons.

"Mom, how do you draw lemons?"

"Mom, where's the tape?"

"Do we have any cups?"

"Mom, where can I find a table to use?

"How am I going to carry all this stuff?"

After a million more questions and a frantic search for all the right "stuff" Weston and Nicholas were ready to set up camp.

 

It wasn't long before our neighbors Liam, Emma and their new dog Queen Elizabeth came to join the fun.

 Emma on the left. Nate, in the green.
Jen, in the purple, Mom to Emma and Liam
Liam in the black. Weston in the red. Nicholas with the backpack (of course!)

Nicholas quickly became enamored with the calming energy of the little rescue dog.



Weston was also sidetracked by the loving little lap pup.

 
 
Emma made sure the lemonade was tasty and cold.


We live in a small neighborhood but it wasn't long before a car finally came rolling down the road. The children sprang to their feet.

"LEMONADE!" They shouted jumping and shouting with glee.

Zzooommm, the car and occupant sped by with barely a  look.

And then another.....

and another.

"Don't worry," said Jen and I, someone will stop.

As if by magic, the woman who lives to our right, pulled out of her driveway.

She's definitely going to stop, I thought to myself. But like the others, she whizzed by the children without even a glance.

"Really? Our neighbor?" I asked Jen.

"I don't understand," she replied.

I felt disappointed and sad being raised by parents who embraced the following "always" philosophies:

Always hold the door for others.
Always say "bless you" when somebody sneezes.
And always, always, no matter what...stop to buy lemonade from kids in the neighborhood.

As I stood by the side of the street watching car after car pass us by, I couldn't help but wonder what has happened to our society? What has happened to common courtesy? Are we so absorbed with ourselves that we are too busy or too angry to stop and encourage a child? Have we forgotten the importance of making children (not just our own) feel good about themselves? Have we forgotten what it feels like to be a kid? Have we forgotten how to be kind?

Finally, a woman stopped, on her face was a large smile. She handed Weston her change and said,

"I always stop when I see a child selling lemonade."

A few others also stopped including a Dad in a pick-up truck and a Mom driving with her two teens.

They were a select few.

But despite the lack of thirsty customers, Liam, Emma, Weston and Nicholas enjoyed their time together. They pet Lizzie the dog, ran races and drank ice cold lemonade on a hot day. I enjoyed their spirited conversations and their ability to find happiness despite the many who forgot the importance of stopping to smell the lemonade and.....



making a child smile.

 
Thank you to Liam, Emma, Nate, Jen and Lizzie the dog for sharing our adventure.

We had fun with all of you!