Special Olympics. I consider it an annual holiday.
One week ago was the annual event. I brought my kids to cheer on the athletes I know (as well as the ones I do not know), same as I do every year.
Fave part of attending? Well that's twofold.
1) The abilities. We are all born with different strengths and challenges. The participants face so many more obstacles and challenges in life than their neighbors and peers. But...the day of Special Olympics is about celebrating abilities. Everyone participates, gets cheered for and wins ribbons. There's a way for everyone to join. Everyone has something to offer. Everyone is included. It's really quite marvelous and the way life should be, all inclusive.
2) The smiles. The smile of the one who won that sprint. The smile from the one who tried the long jump for the first time. The smile from the child in the wheelchair as they whiz past the finish line. The smile of the child receiving the ribbon. The smile of the police officer giving that ribbon. The parents and teachers beaming with pride. Classmates smiling proudly as they hold their signs up to cheer for their friends. So much joy.
It's days like the Special Olympics when I really am thankful that there's a whole lot of people out there who think like I do. That children are children first, regardless of their special needs. Everyone is born with abilities and with some patient and encouraging coaching and teaching, the sky is the limit. So much potential and so much to celebrate. Special Olympics is just one day of the year, but I pray the smiles continue the other 364 days for the kids and parents of every child, regardless of their challenges, for abilities ought to be celebrated daily.