A Special Needs Happy Ending

Once upon a time, in a tiny country church, a handsome man married a beautiful woman. The handsome man and the beautiful woman had three lovely daughters and a charming son. They were a healthy, loving family and could have lived happily ever after in their own little house, in their own little world.

But they chose to do more.

You see, the woman had a sister. This sister was sturdy and strong and married to a jolly, gregarious man. The sister and husband had two shy daughters and a hearty son. When their children were very young, the jolly man started to stumble when he walked. His vision blurred. His limbs felt numb and tingly. So he went to the doctor and was told he had multiple sclerosis. Very soon, the jolly man couldn't walk or work. He was in a wheelchair. And his family nearly lost its bearings.

That's when the other family chose to do more.

The handsome man and the beautiful woman, their three lovely daughters and charming son stepped in, and in innumerable ways, gave back to the strong sister and her jolly husband, their nieces, and nephews much of what multiple sclerosis had snatched away.

The beautiful woman babysat when her sister went back to work.
The handsome man climbed up on a roof with his children, his nieces and nephew so they could see the view.

The beautiful woman brought cards and presents for birthdays and Christmas.
The handsome man swam to the deep end of the pool, one child on his back at a time, so they could see to the bottom.

The beautiful woman herded her kids to their basement during tornado warnings while
the handsome man drove in the storm to negotiate the jolly man's wheelchair safely downstairs.

The beautiful woman fed two families when her strong sister took classes to further her education.
The handsome man gently lifted the jolly man from the floor when he fell off the toilet.

Their whole family came on Sunday afternoons to play games and make popcorn or homemade ice cream.
They planned adventures for both families to parks, to the zoo, to ride horses, and once, even to Kansas.

They invited their shy, oldest niece on a camping trip to California.
They invited their other shy niece and their hearty nephew on a camping trip to Colorado.

By choosing to do more, they changed lives.

They gave the strong sister, who cared for her husband for 38 years, desperately needed periods of respite.
They gave the jolly man the gifts of time and companionship and a chance to get away from home.
They gave their nieces and nephew a vision of how other families lived and loved.
They gave this family a special needs happy ending.

You can choose to do more, too.

Many people reading this post are knee deep in caring for a child or adult with special needs and disabilities. But others are their friends, their family members, their neighbors, their children's teachers, their health care providers. If you are one of those, I want you to know what happens when you choose to do more for a care giving family.

When you choose to do more, you give caregivers hope.
When you choose to do more, you give someone with special needs dignity.
When you choose to do more, you create rich and lasting relationships.
When you choose to do more, you are the hands and feet of Christ.
When you choose to do more, you touch lives for eternity.

I know firsthand what happens when someone reaches in and chooses to do more.

My mother is the strong and sturdy sister. My father was the jolly, gregarious man. I was the younger of the two shy nieces. For sixty years the handsome man and the beautiful woman chose to do more for our family. I know how much their choice enriched my life, my sister's life, my brother's life. My dear uncle and aunt celebrated their sixtieth anniversary in June of 2017. To me, they are as handsome and beautiful today as in their wedding pictures. They are the happy beginning, middle and end to our family's special needs story.

Because of them, to honor them, I choose to do more.