We had the best time at Special O. We got up early and left our house at 6:45. I had gone out earlier and picked up Chick-Fil-A, and we ate it on the way. It was about an 1 hour and 15 minute drive to Searcy, Arkansas.
Joshua's favorite part about the State Special Olympics (and ours, too) (next to winning a medal) is all the friends who come by to say "hi." Since we lived in Searcy for 15 years, my kids all consider it their "home-town."
Searcy is such a great place to have the State Special Olympics, and Harding University is a great host. All of the venues are fairly close, and the ground is flat. That makes a huge difference for athletes who have difficulty walking, or who are in wheelchairs.
Jim's parents met us there. Joshua is always so happy to see them, and we are so thankful for grandparents who want to be here...and who CAN be here.
We also got to see THREE of Joshua's former teachers from Searcy. We saw some friends from our Searcy church. There were a couple of people from Bryant (the last place we lived)...and a couple of Little Rock FRIENDS from Joshua's Therapeutic Recreation program.
Seeing Joshua's former teachers was amazing. These sweet people poured so much of themselves into Joshua. Their support and encouragement in those early years made a huge impact, not just on Joshua, but on Jim and me as well.
One of them got very emotional when he talked about Joshua. He told me what a great kid he was, and how much he enjoyed having him in his class. I told him that, as time goes on, we tend to forget the hard times, and just focus on the good ones. Because when I've gone through Joshua's old school work...there were lots of notes that said, "Joshua disobeyed today." Or, "Joshua ran from me today." Or, "Joshua got in trouble with his regular teacher, and she sent a note for him to give to me...that said he was to miss recess for disciplinary reasons. I never got the note. Upon retracing Joshua's steps, we found notes I had never gotten from weeks/months ago...stuck in various places along the way from her class to mine."
And we lay-uffed and lay-uffed about my mischievous little guy.
This particular teacher said there are things about his time with Joshua he would never forget. He said one day, they were reading a Max Lucado book in their story time, and one of the boys started asking a ton of questions. Joshua said something about Jesus, and the boy said "Who is that?" He had never heard about Jesus. The teacher said that Joshua laid some preachin' on the kid like none other...just laid out the plan of salvation and everything. The teacher said he didn't say a word...didn't intervene or anything...just let the conversation flow. He said it was the perfect example of childlike faith.
But not all of the moments were so sweet and proper. There was a boy in class with Joshua that gave Joshua FITS. "David" and Joshua went 'round and 'round most days. One particular day, the teacher said that Jim was coming to pick up Joshua. The Special Needs class was in a modular building, and had two steps that led up to the door. He said that Jim stood at the bottom and waited for Joshua.
He said this was one of the days when Joshua and "David" had just about gotten the best of him. Constant arguing and fussing. When Jim got there, Joshua grabbed his backpack and then turned to face "David."
The teacher said Joshua yelled at the top of his lungs to "David," "I'LL SEE YOU IN HELL!" And jumped out the door.
The teacher told Jim, "I hope the rest of the parents get here soon, because I need to laugh for a long time."
"Now may the God who gives endurance and ment allow you to live in harmony with , according to the command of Christ Jesus..." Romans 15:5