A few months ago, I spent several evenings sorting pictures for Alyssa’s graduation.  It was a lot of fun, but as I looked at all those pictures from Alyssa’s life, I realized something awesome.

The ‘crazy years’ I mentioned on Monday weren’t just crazy from a medical or ‘special’ perspective. They were also crazy because in the midst of everything, Alyssa has led a very ‘normal’ life.

Her special needs have not slowed her down or kept her from enjoying life. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Whether at home or on a trip, visiting family or hanging out with friends, there is almost NEVER a picture of Alyssa just sitting or doing nothing. Instead, she is always busy, both with everyday ‘normal’ tasks and with fun, crazy adventures with her sibs.  I think it’s a beautiful thing that she was a part of everything her siblings did… and sometimes even did things we didn’t. (For example, there was that one time when all of us refused to go on the zip line a couple hundred feet in the air–except for Alyssa!)

I know it may not always be possible, depending on the disability, but including your special sibling whenever possible is desperately important.  Their life is anything but normal… what better gift could you give them than inviting them to join you in your normal life?

Here are a few of the normal (and not so normal!) things Alyssa has done… at least, the ones we caught on camera!

Washing dishes
Cooking a meal
Climbing a mountain
Hiking in the Grand Canyon
Flying in a helicopter
Playing guitar
Singing in the school choir
Playing games
Skiing
Riding amusement park rides
Fishing
Walking the dog
Reading books
Shopping
Making gifts or cards for people
Dancing
Riding a zip line

As you might guess, Alyssa is a busy, energetic, talented young lady. And nothing, not even a ‘disability,’ can stand in the way of her living life to the fullest.