Then you are new to this blog.
For that answer, in a nutshell: Fragile X Syndrome is the world's leading cause of inherited mental impairment and the leading known inherited cause of autism. For a more in depth definition of this broad spectrum that is Fragile X, you can go to fragilex.org
If you are asking about Stringtown, well then, let me tell you a little bit about the experience my children had there last night.
When you have children with special needs, especially special needs like overstimulation, hyper-arousal, anxiety, autism spectrum disorder and mental impairment you don't get a whole lot of phone calls from your friends that start like this:
"Hey, I know you and Marc are going to the movie tonight for a date, but we just got reservations for 16 people on the Stringtown Polar Express train ride and wanted to know if we can bring Brother and Sister with us to see Santa and ride the train at 8:15 tonight. Would you be OK with that?"
Now, I am not even referring to the specific-ness of the request as much as I am referring to the fact of how RARE it is for someone outside of family to voluntarily take our children into the middle of potential chaos willingly and without us being there to help out during any chaos that may occur.
I was kind of shocked that they even wanted to take on this challenge.
Then I was touched.
And then, I got worried, "I don't know if Sister can handle it. It's her bedtime, she may get overtired and then she'd come home to the babysitter and it will be hard on her. I don't know, maybe it will be too much."
But, Amanda assured me that there would be other families going with them who also love my kids and my kids love them. She reassured me that my kids would be well taken care of and that they would do what they could to help her out on the way home to help calm her down.
Hesitantly, but very excitedly I conceded.
My kids deserve these experiences even if they are hard for them. We don't know how they'll do until we give them the chance.
Marc and I went to the movie a little worried, especially because I had left my phone at home so I wouldn't be able to be contacted by Lindsey (our babysitter) or Amanda until I got home.
When we got home I anxiously asked Lindsey how Brother and Sister did for her when they got home and she informed me that they were so happy and so excited and hyper from the experience, but nothing bad, just happy-hyper. After Lindsey left I quickly checked my phone and I saw all the pictures that had been sent.
As Marc and I looked at them our hearts soared to see the smiles on their faces and to see what a great time they had.
Let me tell you more about Stringtown.
|Image from Stringtown Website http://www.stringtown.us/spx|
This is all a service this neighborhood renders of their own good will. They only take donations and must have huge hearts for bringing the spirit of Christmas to a community. From what I understand (and it is little because I have just learned about it) a neighborhood built a train track through their little area and run a train on it during Christmas time where they have sites and pictures to look at. You are then invited into one of their homes to see Santa, Mrs. Claus and some of his elves. He takes the time to talk to each child and then they get on the train again to close the night focusing on the reason for the season--Jesus Christ.
Now, with that little explanation of what it is, let me give you briefings on what I heard from others:
Brother, this morning before school: "Mom! I saw Santa Claus! I told him I want a turquoise violin!"
All while saying this he is bouncing up and down with his hands gathered under his chin and a HUGE smile on his skinny little face. I have tried to explain to him that we can't get him a turquoise violin, but now that he has told Santa, he is sure it will happen...
Sister, this morning before school: "Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom!! I, I, I, saw SANTAAAAAA!!! I saw Santa! I sat on his lap! I told him I want Star Wars!"
All while jumping up and down and flopping over the couch arm and running back and forth giddy with complete and total excitement. Her eyes were literally twinkling.
Brittany who came over to borrow some flour this morning and was one of the people in the group last night: "I felt so honored to be a part of all that. It was so precious to watch your children. I just felt so honored."
Amanda, whom I had to get all the lowdown from this morning: "Rachael, they were so good. They were so good. Other than a few times of reminding them not to run ahead because of their excitement, that was all. They were so happy. It made it such a fun experience for all of us to see how truly happy they were and I don't think it just affected us who know them but all those around them. And it was so neat to see how quiet they were when we rode on the train at the last, seeing the pictures and life stories of Jesus. They were so quiet."
|Waiting for Santa among the toys and toy trains, so excited.|
|All the kids (friends of our kids) who were in the group! Love these kids!|
I am so thankful that this neighborhood, known as Stringtown have created such a wonderful place that my children can truly enjoy Christmas. I can't explain, really, how happy this made all of us and how excited I am to start a new tradition ever year. I know my kids will be looking forward to it!
My heart continues to be filled with the spirit of Christmas!