This happy, dancing, joyful little boy, will start his senior year in high school tomorrow. He was three in these pictures, and they are certainly worth more than three thousand words. He loved those shorts. He loved those socks. He loved, loved, LOVED that Sesame Street sweatshirt, and he wore it long after it was too small (see exhibit A):
This is a picture of Wil's best bud since kindergarten, Ian. Today Ian drove to our house at 6:00 AM (sharp, don't you know), to take Wil to the Senior Sunrise Prayer Service at the top of a butte. Ian did not take Wil to the prayer service because Ian was dying to get up before 6:00 on his last day of summer, he took Wil to the prayer service because Wil wanted to go to the prayer service. Wil did not want his mother taking him (and his mother was good with that), he wanted to go with friends, just like all the other seniors. And so, Ian took both Wil and his long-time friend, Jack. That's just a tiny example of the kid Ian is. Ian would no doubt be a stellar human regardless of whether or not Wil came into his life at the young age of barely five. But it didn't hurt.
And you all know how we feel about Claire Rose...
Couldn't you just eat her with a spoon? Claire Rose is one of those kids that was born 40-years-old. Her wisdom is unmatched. I look up to her in all ways except literally, she's a little bit of a thing. Claire Rose has had one heck of a year, but she remains rock solid and ever the wiser for the tremendous obstacles life has thrown her.
The photo above is of two of "The Boobs," a name Wil came up with for the pack of boys that have been running around together since fifth grade. Woohoo can, and should, marry any one of The Boobs. They are all the boys you bring home to mom. The Boobs are all playing varsity football together this year. For three of them, they haven't played football in years, but the team needed them and they needed to spend each and every minute they can being The Boobs until they scatter and go their separate ways a year from now.
Based on the Special Olympics Project UNIFY model, wherein a team is made-up of both typical and special athletes, there will be a religion class at high school this year that is "unified." Don't you know it, both Claire Rose and Ian are in it with Wil.
My vow to myself is to be present to this year ahead. To really be with the moments as they present themselves and then pass. I'm done crying because it will all be over soon. I know there will be no shortage of people in Wil's life once high school is over, even if there's a shortage of typical peers.
Thank you to each and every one of the many, many, many angels in Wil's life these last 18 years. He is deeply blessed and forever changed.
And so are you.