Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Sam I Am
We were standing in the large group of people waiting for the race to begin. I was looking around to see if I recognized anyone, which would have been unlikely given the upscale neighborhood through which the race was being held. But as I looked behind me, I was surprised and excited. There stood the dad and daughter that I had seen at the movie theatre last April. I wrote about what an impact their presence had on me that night. And here they were getting ready to join in the race.
I introduced myself – as did they – and soon it was time for the race to start. Sam, the beautiful daughter’s name, was in a wheelchair built for speed! And the look on her face said that speed was just what she wanted. She seemed to grow more excited as more people crowded around the race starting line, and as the race begun, I could almost hear her giggle.
Obviously Sam and her dad, Vince, were experienced racers. Before the first quarter mile was finished, I knew I would not be keeping up with them. And while I was disappointed, I don’t think anything in the world could have convinced Sam to slow down. So off they went, and it wasn’t until the end of the race that I saw them again. Sam’s grin could not have gotten any bigger!
While cooling down and waiting for the post-race activities to end, Sam’s mother, Barbara, came over and introduced herself. Like her beautiful daughter, her warm smile pulled me into her bright and happy eyes, and I felt as if I had been given a gift.
Once again, Sam and her family lifted my spirits, and reinvigorated my desire to have my children with significant disabilities play an active role in our community. I need reminders sometimes that community DOES mean everyone. So thank you again, Sam, Barb and Vince. You’ve appeared twice now in my life – both times unexpectedly – and twice you have strengthened me through your example. You are indeed a very special family, and I am honored to have met you.