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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Week Before Christmas, part 2

As I pull up to the school, there is much chaos, cars line the streets, a fire truck on a side road taking much space also. Parking is tough, especially since I hope to stay out of view, maybe even hide in or near my car. The activities start outside, a fire truck brings Santa to the school, with many Rochester City firefighters volunteering their time. This event is run by the Rochester City firefighters, heros in more ways than most people realize. They don't get paid to be here today and they take the time out of their very busy holiday schedules to bring this school much joy! Dressed in their "Blue" the firefighters all look great as they wait for the word from the school to "parade" in. This is the only part of the celebration I hope to catch, the parade as the firefighters and Santa surprise the kids. Walking up to the school, I spy a familiar firefighter, his children had attended Mark and my in home daycare years earlier. To me, this is one of those amazing connections life gives us. I had cared for his children and now he was here for my daughter. Already moved by the situation, I am so glad I chose to let everything else go to come. I decide to hide out near the playground, figuring it is far enough from where the kids will be that Teale won't notice me. I have my camcorder and camera to capture this moving event and share it with Mark. Unusual for Rochester, there is no snow on the ground, it is cold, but nothing like our usual. As I wait for all the kids to come out of the school, more and more firefighters arrive. I wonder what am I about to witness? No other parents are in sight, making me wary of my decision to come and more determined to not be seen. The adults in the program line up at the beginning of the parade. They have flags waving and a drummer ready to strum out a marching beat. I know many of the adults, as I have been volunteering in the program much of the fall. They wave to me and yell Merry Christmas, warming my heart. The school is for children with special needs, but there is a whole adult work program in the building also. Volunteering with the adults in the work program is a highlight of my week, every week. I love seeing the interactions between all of them, which also gives me much peace about Teale's future. She can also choose to stay in the building as an adult, working one of the many jobs offered right here, where I know she is safe from the rest of the world. The adults and I have a special bond, they seem to enjoy my company and I know I enjoy theirs. As they get into formation, the parade is about to begin. I see Teale with her classmates and think her aid sees me, but hope she doesn't point me out. The fire truck gets into position, Santa, Mrs Claus and Rudolph have climbed into to the top. The many fire fighters are ready to march in, a sea of blue uniforms. I stand there fighting tears, grateful for Teale being in this amazing school and feeling the outpouring of love. Capturing it on film as best I can to share with Mark. I know I will not be able to share all the many feelings I am having as I watch the kids faces when Santa and his helpers arrive at their school.  (to be continued)

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