My oldest girl just turned 12. She is a wonderful gift to us. She has Autism and is non-verbal. Because of this, we have needed a lot of help along the way in this journey of growing her up. The list is really long of people we’ve met along the way that have played a part in her journey. Therapists. Teachers. Shadows. Service Coordinators. On and on. When we named Cadence we gave her the middle name “Moriah”. This comes from “Mt. Moriah” in the Bible where God revealed Himself as Jehovah-Jireh, which means, “The Lord Will Provide”. I named her before she was born, and had no idea the journey she would have in front of her, but asked the Lord to live up to His name on her life and give her all she ever needed. He hasn’t failed.
The Lord has miraculously opened an incredible door for her to go to a private school in January that specializes in Autism. We are thrilled! But as we start a new chapter, I’m reflecting on the journey so far. So many people have been a part of “Team Cadence.” Just today we had the privilege of going for Cadence’s weekly horse-riding lesson. Cadence doesn’t talk really. We don’t know what she’s thinking. But she gets so excited when she realizes we are going the The Big Red Barn to visit with “Tank” and take him for a ride. Without a doubt it’s one of her favorite things to do. She starts giggling as we drive into the gate.
Every week Leigh Anne and her team meet us there and make Cadence’s day. Cadence is in “zen mode” when she gets on a horse. It’s amazing to see. But what is more amazing is that there are people in the world like Leigh Anne who provide a service for people like Cadence. And she does it with a troop of faithful volunteers that she coordinates, trains and directs to put together a professional program that is beyond compare, providing a valuable service for people with disabilities.
Here’s the thing about special-needs. It. Is. Expensive…Doctors. Therapy. Treatments. Many families will go broke looking for answers and trying to provide services. But sometimes we are fortunate enough to run across a program like the one Cadence is in. This happens because there are people in the world who are totally committed to being a voice for those who have none. Committed to improving the quality of life for those who need some extra help. And committed to doing it in such a way that the cost is minimal and families can afford it. Committed to raising funds, getting sponsors and working like crazy so parents and care givers can have options for the ones they love.
I’ve been told that God gives special kids to special parents. It’s not true. We aren’t special. We’re ordinary. We’ve just been given a special tasks to do. We try to rise to the task. But the really special people are the ones who work so tirelessly for special needs and disabilities… but don’t have too. They choose too. And they serve those who can’t repay them and may never be able to show gratitude to them. The really special people are the ones who don’t get paid enough for the work they do, or completely volunteer their time. The ones who go above and beyond out of a heart of love and devotion and compassion. Those are the really special people and I’m grateful for them. They make a huge difference for families like mine.
My cowboy hat is off to all the people who help out at The Big Red Barn making The Palmetto Equestrian Therapeutic Riding Program (PET) a success and a bright spot in our week. And to all the really special people whose hearts hold a tenderl place for ones like my girl. The words “thank you” are just not adequate. May your heart and soul be blessed and love returned to you over and over again.
To learn more about the benefits of therapeutic riding or to sponsor lessons for a rider go to the PET website at http://petprogram.org