The picture above was taken at the Special Olympics in April 2001. First grade. I like this picture for several reasons. I love the way, you can only see Stephens adorable face and smile, because he was wearing a hooded jacket. I remember that it was really cool and windy that day; that is why I have his ears covered with the hood. This was a happy day. A happy school year. The moment this picture was taken, we had no way of knowing the struggles we were about to face the next school year, with the school system. Second grade left scars. Physical scars on Stephen, and emotional scars on my heart. That year, he didnt participate in Special Olympics. Why? I do not know. Maybe our county didnt have it that year. If they did, his teacher didnt let me know. The teacher he had that year was more interested in trying to talk me into committing Stephen into a mental institution, or transferring him to another school that was better equipped to handle him. Im terribly ashamed to admit this, but she almost had me convinced. She nearly had me convinced that there was no hope, that he was only going to be a burden that I couldnt carry. Well, Stephen and I have proven her wrong. She considered him a burden because she was (and unfortunately, still is) in the wrong profession. I do not consider him a burden, because - I love him.
When this picture was taken, I didnt know that we would be burying my grandmother one week later. When this picture was taken, my health was already deteriorating and I just thought I was coming down with a little bug. Another reason I like this picture is because, I was truly happy that day. My smile was real, not forced. Stephen hasnt learned how to conceal his emotions. If hes happy, he smiles. If hes sad or in pain, he cries. If hes mad, he screams. Mostly, he just smiles J
Today, he is home, sick-again. Hes watching TV, and he is smiling, embracing his lamb chop puppet. I have managed to force a smile or two. Its just that I know how susceptible he is to pneumonia, and I am worried. The congestion is thick, and hes coughing a lot. He might miss Halloween and hes been so excited about it. But, he wont complain. He'll smile and give out candy. What a guy!