Thursday, December 27, 2012

Amazing Amigos

This afternoon we gathered up big pans of homemade lasagna (made with yummy freshly milled kamut flour!), gigantic salad, breadsticks and plenty of fun stuff to drink.  A few strands of Christmas lights.  Candy canes.

Friends met us at St. James Episcopal, our church, and I bossed and directed and kids set up tables and cloths, candles and greenery.  Lights were strung.  The tree only got knocked over once.

Platters were arranged and kids helped Rick Ruiz bring in his amazing dj and karaoke equipment. 

Bit by bit, different friends made their way to our little parish hall, thumping with the sounds of One Direction, Taylor Swift, some 50s and 70s thrown in for good measure, and of course the Cumbia, because we are on the TX-Mex border.

Some middle schoolers, a few highschoolers, a handful of homeschoolers.  A few parents.  A couple of people who love to dance and didn't need an excuse. 

And most importantly, several of our special friends.  Three with Down's Syndrome.  One in a wheelchair.  A couple or three Autism Spectrum  kiddos. 

As Rick cranked up the music, the big kids held back.  Embarrassed.  Not ready to jump in.  So very self-conscious and afraid of looking dumb.

But not Becky.  That girl can dance.  And dance she did.  I grabbed a middleschooler and we joined Becky.  I gently (?) suggested that a couple of other kids join in.  Before you know it, the floor was filled, and instead of focusing on themselves, they focused on the music, and everyone was smiling.  Big brothers dancing with little sisters.  Friends with friends. 

I laughed to myself as I pondered the idea I had that we were offering ministry to our special friends.  I had hoped to offer them a safe place to feel loved and treasured.  A place to play and enjoy themselves.

What a funny thing to realize that our special friends were the ones offering the ministry to us.  To my children.  To me.  As they danced and smiled and grabbed me by the arm to dance, I took great pleasure and joy in their pure, sweet offering.  It was such a gift. 

And what was even more amazing, the opportunity to witness my oh-so cool kids let themselves go. 

This evening was our third dance with Amazing Amigos.  Our church offers up the parish hall.  Rick Ruiz, who is a part of a very popular band here in town offers his services at a tremendously discounted rate.  He always stays way later than he needs.  He plays at the big gigs, but doesn't mind being a blessing to those special friends in our teeny little church.  Different friends offer up financial gifts to cover the costs.  Kids decorate and clean.  And dear ones like Becky and Rachel and Danielle and Crystal and Gage dance.  (So does Thomas, but mostly he likes to watch from the sidelines!)  And little by little, so do the rest of us. 

You know, it really wasn't that much work.  Talk about bang for your buck.

I wish every kid in our town had the chance to see how cool it is to just be yourself.  How fun it is to be silly.  I wish they could see that our special needs friends are gifts to us.  They may be different, but there are so many things that are the same.  We all love to eat!  We all love to drink fun stuff.  We all love karaoke and music and Christmas lights. 

So, hip hip hurray for Amazing Amigos!  And Rick Ruiz!  And special Angels who gave gifts that help make it happen.

The gifts continue.

PS Life is moving right along here.  I have lots of stories to share and as soon as things slow down I plan to catch you up on the adventures.  We are all well.  Even the dogs and kitties!  It was a delight to share Christmas with Mom and Daddy.  No white Christmas, but plenty of good things are filling our world.  More later...



Jenn D said...

Hello Ginger, I was so happy to read one of your posts today. Your words never fail to fill up my soul. The dance sounds wonderfully fun. How fantastic. Blessings to you and your family. :)

Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

I'm glad you're doing well Ginger and you're enjoying your family, especially at Christmas, like I am. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Custom Lapel Pins said...

And most importantly, several of our special friends. Three with Down's Syndrome. One in a wheelchair. A couple or three Autism Spectrum kiddos.