Over the years I have attended countless school holiday programs. They are all similar, with cute children singing and being adorable. The program I attended yesterday brought tears to my eyes.
My son Paul is a special ed teacher. I have often heard him talk about his kids, but I had never been to his school or met any of students until yesterday when I attended the Holiday Program at his school for kids with special needs.
Walking into the gym I saw the usual holiday decorations but there was something different. Orthopedic devices were covered with shiny tensile. Kids were waiting in wheelchairs bedecked with bright garlands. Paul found us and took us to meet his kids, a group of teenagers in specially fitted wheelchairs. Paul introduced me as his mommy. The kids are mostly not able to talk, but they seemed happy and excited.
Paul’s class was the opening act. The biggest boy was wheeled out and fitted into an orthopedic device that enabled him to stand. It was decorated to look like a pulpit. “Winter Wonderland” played on the sound system and his other students were wheeled into two rows. Then a young man all dressed up in a suit and a girl wearing a white veil were wheeled down the aisle to the pulpit. After the wedding ceremony the kids were pushed in circles and “danced” in celebration.
The program included lots of music, lots of proud parents and lots of excited kids. It just seemed to be a little more special.
I watched my son the teacher interact with his kids and help them accomplish something that was very big. This boy of mine is a compassionate, capable, competent teacher in a very special place. He makes me swell with pride.