Last night we celebrated three of our girls' 8th grade graduation.
It was a very special night.
Julia, Sveta, and Annalyn
What three amazing girls.
They chose to go to Marie Calendars for dinner.
The ribs were messy.
The fried shrimp were crunchy!
The fried green beans were yummy!
It was a very special time out.
As a surprise for the girls, especially for Sveta who has wanted to go ever since she found out about the place-- we took them to an indoor race track. Sveta's birthday is in a few weeks and we are going to miss it, so we thought it was a wonderful opportunity to do exactly what Sveta wanted-- and celebrate not only their graduation, but her birthday too.
They were so excited when they saw us drive up. It was going to be awesome!
We filled out the paperwork, watched the video, put on our helmets, and watched the race before us.
To see the excitement in Sveta's eyes filled both our hearts with joy.
She may not be able to drive a real car, but at least she would be able to experience this.
The instructor went over everything, and though Sveta seemed to have trouble completely understanding the concept of green means go and red means stop-- we all thought she would get the hang of it once she actually started driving. Just to be safe, the instructor set all of our cars to the slowest setting.
Soon we were off!
Sveta was the first to go and I followed closely.
All was good. Little did I know that behind me, Annalyn had jumped one of the tire islands. Don't worry she was fine as she quickly grasped how to maneuver the cars. I added this tidbit to show that everyone can have a rough start and eventually get the hang of things.
As we neared our first lap, things went wrong.
Instead of following the track and doing her next lap, Sveta turned left to head back to where she started which was full of race cars. It was where the next drivers stood and watched us-- so of course there was a tire divider. Sveta did not know how to stop and drove right into that tire divider head on. I didn't actually see her hit, but I was concerned and slowed down to see how she was. She was able to talk to the guy, and he seemed to be instructing her further. I was sure she would be back out on the track. As I made a few more laps, I finally saw her getting out of the race car and walk back to where everyone else was waiting.
As I parked my race car to see what was wrong, the instructor came and talked to me.
I assumed she was just scared to get out there again and that was why she was not racing.
But the instructor told me that it was not safe for her to be on the track because she had no concept of how to work the pedals. She could not understand that the right green pedal meant go and the left red pedal was to brake.
My heart sank.
Sveta was not going to get the change to get the hang of it because she couldn't.
I can't explain how my heart broke right then and there for my daughter.
I looked over the instructor's shoulder and saw Sveta bravely standing there holding her helmet. She was teary-eyed and red faced. Bless her heart, she was so brave.
He told me that she hit pretty hard and would most likely be sore in the morning
I went to her to comfort her. It was very hard to hold back my tears.
Until you are a Mom of a special daughter such as Sveta, I don't think you can begin to imagine the pain and anger and sadness of such a situation.
Reality is hard sometimes. Especially when something like FAS (which is that cause of her intellectual disability) is totally preventable.
John saw that something was wrong, so he parked his car too with the girls following.
Sveta was embarrassed and couldn't quite understand why they wouldn't let her back out on the track.
But the beautiful awesomeness inside her didn't let on that she was having all these feelings inside her.
Honestly, I couldn't be more proud of her as I was of her at that moment.
I was more upset with myself for allowing this to happen.
John and I thought we were doing the right thing by allowing Sveta to try something she really wanted to do, when instead we should have protected her from the pain and embarrassment of this situation because we should have known that this would be too hard for her.
Taking this picture was really hard for me since we were here because Sveta really wanted to to try the race track and it was her who was denied the opportunity to race. In a perfect world it would have been her standing up there!
Just to show you how awesome Sveta is despite the unexpected turn of events-- she ended with saying that she still had so much fun racing around the track that one time.
Afterwards, we took the girls shopping and then we went for frozen yogurt.
We got home pretty late.
At the end of the night, all three girls had said they had a wonderful time-- which is all that counts.
Each of our girls are so uniquely and wonderfully made that it is a blessing to be there parents. Guiding them, encouraging and praising them to be all that God plans them to be is such a growing experience for John and I. Just when we think we have seen it all, we are presented with another learning experience that stretches us to be more compassionate, more loving, more accepting, and to cherish all that life has and is.
Happy graduation girls! Now on to high school!