Friday, January 14, 2011

A Very Special Day for a Very Special Boy: January 11, 2011

Yesterday night, I returned to read bedtime stories in Maternal (the section of the Casa for the littlest kids) for the first time in 2011. I brought with me a stack of new books, which we purchased in the US over winter vacation with money given to us as Christmas gifts from relatives for that purpose. Among them were some Eric Carle books in Spanish (great illustrations!), a few bilingual books--one in particular I love about two girls, one who speaks only English and the other, only Spanish and how they become friends one day when they go to the park with their moms. The kids seemed delighted to get back in their routine of looking at books before going to bed and being read a bedtime story before saying their nighttime prayers and falling asleep. I was delighted to be back with them too.

Two days ago, one of the Casa staff told me that it was G’s birthday. G is a boy who has cerebral palsy. He is not able to speak, although he is able to communicate his emotions and signal “yes” and “no”. He utilizes a wheelchair to get around and has limited control of his arms and legs. He is cared for by Casa staff members at all times. They feed him, transport him, clean him, and love him, lots. G was dropped off at the Casa gates as a frail baby. He was not expected to live past childhood. Two days ago marked his 18th birthday. 
G sleeps in Maternal with the little ones because of his need for continual care. The woman who works in Maternal on the overnight shift (who is there when I read and is my tag-teamer for the bedtime story routine) told me about G’s birthday. She said that because they do not know his actual day of birth, they celebrate the day that he arrived at the Casa. She was one of the first workers who held his frail, tiny self in her arms. The thought of that amazed me. “That is why he loves me so much,” she commented with a smile, “and I love him too.” That love is evident. She recently took him with her to her house and cared for him over the winter vacation. 

When she informed me of G’s birthday, I told her that I would think of something special to do for him when I went to Maternal to read the next day. I asked Pete if he would come with me and play Las Mañanitas (the Mexican birthday song) before I read the bedtime story. Pete did that. The sight and sound of Pete playing the trumpet, the kids singing, and G shrieking for joy pushed me to the brink of tears. 

Each time I go to Maternal, this girl reads to G.

PS--I wanted to share with you the video of the kids singing and Pete playing for G; however, with the relatively weak internet connection here, it has been difficult to upload such a large file. I will try and post it either on my blog or facebook at some point so you can see this special video. 

1 comment:

  1. Happy Birthday G! We were just talking about him earlier. Also, I LOVE Eric Carle.