When I first got home from serving an 18-month LDS mission to Montana, I had no idea how life had been changed forever. I spent all of a week-and-a-half at home before I headed back to Utah to go back to school. I came home right before Christmas so I was busy with family, holidays, and repacking. I got to Utah and I was busy with unpacking, getting my schedule to work out, and finding a job. My second day or so in Utah I sat down to make a list of everything I needed to accomplish that day. I looked at the list and started crying. Everything on that list was to benefit me. After spending a year-and-a-half serving other people, it felt wrong to only be serving myself.
I went down to the preschool that I had worked at before my mission to see if they had any openings. They didn't but expressed that they would love to put me on the substitute list. I agreed and then left, depressed, to go to my friend Jacqui's house. Jacqui and I had meet while working at the preschool and she hadn't been happy there and encouraged me not to work there. She suggested looking in the paper to see what else there could be. I only had experience with kids. I didn't know how to do anything else. We looked over all of the options when one particular ad jumped out at me. It was an ad for an aide working with a family that had two children with special needs. The pay was better than at the preschool, so I was excited.
I called the number right there and was asked if I could come that night for an interview. I went to the interview in Alpine which was about 25 minutes away. I met an amazing woman and had a great interview. She told me about her oldest daughter that had a condition called Rett Syndrome. I had never heard of the disorder. She explained that her daughter was born and developed very typical for about a year. She then started losing some of the skills that she had acquired Her daughter was 19 but was developmentally a year old. She was blessed that she retained the ability to walk, and she could say a couple of words. I was then asked it I thought I could change a poopy diaper on a young woman. Everything inside of me was screaming to say no. I did not think that I could do that. Somehow out of my mouth came a yes, and my life has always been blessed ever since.
I was hired on the spot and had the chance to work with this amazing family for about a year. They had another daughter that had been diagnosed with severe ADHD but I have since wondered if it was really Aspergers syndrome. I loved the whole family and really felt blessed to work for them. I was most of all happy that not everything on my to do list was directly related to me. I had the chance to take my wonderful young woman on trips, to the singles ward, and spent a lot of time with her. In some ways she really was still an infant. She only said a few words, threw tantrums when she was upset, and had low fine and gross motor skills. Yet ins some ways she was a young lady. She really enjoyed the singles ward, she could swim all by herself, she would flirt with my friend Alden, and she had a thing for Vegas.
Since I have had my own children, the thought has crossed my mind "I don't ever want you to grow up! I want you to stay ____ age forever!" Yet yesterday as my oldest "fixed" breakfast for all of the kids, I realized how lucky I am that he is growing up. I love who my children are, and who they are becoming. I thought back on my Rett Syndrome friend and had a glimpse of if my kids really didn't ever grow up. Although I know I would love/do love my children with their own special needs, I realize what a blessing it is to be able to see my kids growing up. So today I am thankful that my kids are growing up. Now if I could just make time slow down--just a little bit!