Today our schedule was "over" full. Both boys had soccer games at two different locations in town at 9 and 10 and the Buddy Walk started at 10. Originally, we thought we were going to have to miss the Buddy Walk this year. I was upset. I've looked forward to it since last years. We finally decided that Hailey and I would take Ian to his game and we would leave at half time. The three of us would book it downtown and get there shortly after the walk began. We wouldn't miss much.
I'm so glad we squeezed it all in! A dear friend and her three children drove up from Lexington to walk with us. She has a gorgeous little girl with Ds as well. They joined us last year and are going to try to make it an annual event.
Cincinnati's Buddy Walk is one of the (or the largest) Buddy Walk in the country. I wish I could explain the feeling of seeing thousands of people there to celebrate one thing....Down syndrome. Everyone is there because they love some with Ds or someone with Ds has touched their lives in some way (and then there are some high school/college age individuals getting their service hours in, but that's okay...it is a fabulous event for them to see!!!). It takes your breath away. The love washes over you. It is so overwhelming that it brings tears to my eyes. It makes me so happy! The walk is short. About a mile. There are food vendors, drinks, DJ, dancing, crafts for the kids...a giant party to celebrate Ds.
We saw lots of familiar faces, but I think I'm going to have to call out my favorite....the Wonder Women running around at the Buddy Walk. I think I gave one of them an odd look at first....who is dressed up like Wonder Woman...was the thought that flashed through my head until I got closer. It was one of Hailey's therapists from the Thomas Center (the Ds clinic) at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. It was her physical therapist. Hailey was a little apprehensive at first...not sure if it was the headband or the sunglasses :-) Then she bribed her with beads...Hailey has always loved her bling! A little later, we ran into her speech therapist dressed in similar attire. We are so lucky to have that group of women. Yes, we pay them for therapy, but they go above and beyond for our kiddos. They love their job. They love our kids. You can see it....you can feel it!
So later as the day winds down, I will tuck in my 3 beautiful active children, I will remember seeing all those smiling faces, the people cheering, the band playing, the volunteers giving their time. I will still feel the love of the Buddy Walk today. I will thank God for the path he has put us on. Some things that you originally perceive as bad...as the worst thing in the world...opens your eyes to the most beautiful experiences...most beautiful people...that you have ever seen!
Do yourself a favor...make an effort to participate in a Buddy Walk somewhere, sometime. I promise you, you won't regret it! I'm sure you will see Wonder Woman and Superman...some in costume and some not :-)
|Hailey decided Joella was her new friend.|
|Apparently Joella's big sis, Laney, had an empty lap that needed filled.|
|Poor Isaac was next :-)|
|The day's activities have caught up to them.|
|This is one tired 2 yr old!|
|Have a nice nap, Hailey!|