Educate to Empower #GratitudeWhile it is important to express our gratitude every day, this time of year we tend to put an even greater emphasis on what we are thankful for. With that in mind I want to take a moment to thank someone who has been an incredible pillar in Shamus’ day to day, yet almost always remains in the back ground. As parents of a child with a disability and some significant needs for assistance with daily tasks, it is very difficult for Nichole and I to simply hand the care of our child to someone else. In fact, there are very few people that we look to for help when we need back up or respite. With the exception of the staff at the Double H Ranch (a camp for children with life-threatening or life altering disabilities), all of them are family members. That is, all of them except Lauren. At this point, Lauren might as well be family as she has been Shamus’ school aide for the past six years.

Певец сомневался в успехе песни во время ее выпуска, потому что поп-исполнители, выпускающие рождественскую музыку, не были так популярны по сравнению с сегодняшним днем. Когда Billboard спросил, думает ли она, что «All I Want for Christmas Is You» станет самым Тайный Санта большим хитом альбома, она ответила: «Неееет». Она объяснила: «20 лет назад рождественская музыка и рождественские альбомы артистов не были такой большой проблемой, как сегодня. В то время у вас было не так много артистов с рождественскими альбомами; все тогда, и не было никого, кто делал бы новые большие рождественские песни ».

Throughout those years, Lauren has been there for Shamus for everything while he’s been at school. At first, she was close by, assisting him with everything from taking of his coat, unloading his backpack, gathering his belongings, using the rest room and anything else you could think of. As the years have passed and she has encouraged him to be as independent as possible, Lauren has faded into the background. However, she springs into action if he needs an extra advocate, has an issue with his wheelchair or other equipment, or needs some extra encouragement. She never hesitates to act when necessary but also never interferes with Shamus simply being a teenage boy. She gives him space with his buddies and lets him work through things on his own when appropriate.

One of the greatest memories we all have Lauren in the atypical position of being in the spotlight was during our school’s annual Field Day. It was Lauren’s first full year working with Shamus and one of the events that Shamus wanted to sign up for was the tug of war! We weren’t quite sure how that would work out but Shamus wanted to give it a try, and Lauren said she would make it happen. The photo here says it all with Lauren anchoring Shay’s chair as he heaved on the rope with his teammates in pink! She would do ANYTHING to make sure Shamus was included!

Though she may have a less active role in his day-to-day routine now, there is no doubt that she still has his back, is one of his greatest cheerleaders and advocates and will do whatever it takes to help him be successful…and for all of that, and for all she does, we could not be more grateful. To all of those unsung heroes out there, especially those who are caregivers doing whatever it takes, THANK YOU!!!

#TogetherWeShall be #Thankful#Grateful#Gratitude