Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Paper Plate Connection

Sue is my sister's friend. Sue is also a single mother for her daughter Kayleen. Sue's husband left Sue and Kayleen soon after Kayleen's birth. Kayleen was just too high maintenance for him! Kayleen was born with Angelman Syndrome.
Sue's love for Kayleen is best described as fierce! Kayleen wasn't supposed to be able to walk but she does. Kayleen is now sixteen. She rides a big pink tricycle. She swims in the neighbor's pool. She walks. She doesn't talk but she does communicate - especially her displeasure. She plays quietly in her room with toys more appropriate for a toddler in another world. Kayleen has a wonderful life!
Sue and Kayleen live in a darling house. They call their home "Buttercup" - the place that always has a smile! The home is filled with angels of many kinds - on pillows and in pictures, in an afghan on the sofa and more - all serve as a reminder of God's blessing even through Angelman Syndrome.
My husband and I were in their lovely home twice in Summer 2009 when two of my sister's sons married the same summer. I tried to engage Kayleen but all my efforts were useless. Kayleen loves men, however, so she thinks my John is the coolest! She "runs" to meet him with her lurching walk. She looks up at him with her dazzling smile!
One Sunday night we - Kayleen and I - were sitting on the sofa together. I decided to try one more time. I picked up a paper plate - don't ask me why because I don't have a clue. Kayleen and I just started passing the plate back and forth. No words were spoken but gradually we bonded over that simple white paper plate. Kayleen smiled broadly and made a happy sound! I felt like I'd climbed a mountain!
Sue cares for Kayleen with all the love she has which is a huge amount and briming over! Is she ever weary? You betcha! Is she ever lonely? I'm sure she is. But Sue is also the poster mom for a special needs child in a company of thousands, maybe millions, of special needs moms around the world. Sue doesn't see herself as heroic. She is quick to tell you how blessed she and Kayleen are to have each other! And we were blessed from head to toe just living in their world for a few short days twice that summer!

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