Even on the best of days, I can’t honestly say that my day has been one big smile. There are pressures in the day to pay the bills (hoping there is enough money at the end of the month) that often get a gentle grimace when everything balances. There are days that things just don’t go as planned – wait, that’s everyday, and it’s hard to gather up even a grin. And then there are those days when we are spinning so many plates that a smirk has little time to emerge. Some days are better than others, and many days do have plenty of smiles….but….
When Joey, our adult son with special needs, is dismissed from work, he, and about 30 other special needs adults hobble, walk, and get rolled out in their wheel chairs wearing the brightest beaming smiles you can imagine! They just finished a long and exhausting day of work, and they are happy! And it’s not the kind of happy that says, “I’m out-a-here!” Often they are laughing, high-fiving each other, and holding the door open for whoever is next to or behind them. It is really quite something to see.
It’s recognizable that many with special needs have a very special character quality bearing that inner joy. Some, perhaps because of their tight musculature bear a sweet smile on their face all the time. What a gift. Yet, as life has thrown them so many curves that aren’t so easy, they make it look so easy to set a smile on their face all the time. My heart is warmed to see how they treat each other without any prejudices to color, disability, ability, etc. – they are simply co-workers looking out for each other, happy to be with each other, and it seems – even caring for one another.
Even today after work, Joey dutifully and responsibly readied himself for his shower and evening routine. As I helped him finish, he took my hand, looked me in the eyes and gently whispered, “You are pretty. Love me forever?” This is why we can do what we do everyday, and the kinds of things we store in our hearts for those days that are “testy”! How could I not end my day with a smile after hearing those tender words with a smile from him? Beaming….from ear to ear!