I had another phone call from Alyssa the other day.  Actually, she’s been calling fairly regularly and leaving messages when I don’t answer.  The topics are scattered… she covers everything from what she ate that day to shopping trips to things she wants to do when I come visit.

“Brittany Barden… it’s me, Alyssa. I got lots of clothes stuff and shirt stuff.  I want you to come see me, ’cause I got a lot of stuff… clothes stuff.  In my bag. And I got a skirt. Three skirts. Aaaand… three shirts.  Aaaand… red shirts!


“Brittany Barden… this is Alyssa. Um, we went to our doctor’s appointment and we went to Applebee’s.  I want you to come to Thanksgiving to see us.  We miss you, Brittany Barden.  Bye.”

When I hear an Alyssa message, I normally smile, hit ‘save,’ and move on with my day.  Her messages are fun and sweet, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Then I remembered that not long ago, a message like that was out of the ordinary.

For years, Alyssa didn’t leave messages.  She didn’t know what to do when the voice on the other end said “Leave a message at the beep!”  So she would sit there waiting. And waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

Sometimes she would wait for 10 minutes or more, expecting someone to pick up on the other end.  It did make for some amusing messages, because in the background, you could hear “Alyssa, she’s not answering. Hang up the phone!”  “No! I am waiting to talk to Brittany!”  And so forth for several minutes.  😛  At least I could figure out who was calling!

Messages from Alyssa are a lot more fun and to the point these days. But I hadn’t thought about what a huge step it was for her to get to the point where she could leave messages. How much coaching, explaining, prepping, and helping it took for her to be able to leave a message on my phone.

Sometimes, it takes a long time and a ton of work for a special needs person to accomplish something seemingly simple.  And then once it is achieved, it is so easy to move on. To forget all the effort we poured out and lessons we learned along the way.

To forget that the ordinary is really extraordinary.

Whether we live with special siblings or don’t have that blessing, it is easy to make the same mistakes in our lives.  We learn an important lesson, then move on without giving it a second thought.  Or we bask in the success we have achieved for a short time, then forget all that we learned along the way.  How easy it is to see life as so very ordinary.

But in reality, life is extraordinary.

Can you remember a time when you were reminded that life is extraordinary?