As we sing our song, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine,” Andrew yells and cries out “hamster!”
How can I possibly explain to my son why someone would break into his favorite place other than home and steal everything he could get his hands on? Andrew, like most of the students at Eden II, does not understand such cruelness. Andrew only knows how good he feels when he wakes up in the morning and I say, “Get up, it’s school time!” He smiles, even though his eyes are still closed. He runs on the school bus, but not before he steps on the two lines on the sidewalk, smiles at the bus window and gives his daily numbers to the bus driver. Today’s number was 760 and George says, “Thanks for the lotto numbers Andrew; you will make me rich one day!” He is a happy boy and Eden makes him feel happy, safe and secure. He receives so much love and respect while learning ABA, socialization and life skills. Everyday he tells me what each of his seven classmates ate for lunch and what color shirt they each wore. I wonder if he realizes his laptop he works so hard for is missing. Or that his favorite classroom toy is gone?
Eden is a second home; it might be years before he leaves, but that is okay. Eden services children until they are adults. It is incomparable to many schools. When I read the note from his backpack that the school was robbed, my heart sank. The thieves stole electronics, toys and the class hamster. It was as though someone came into my own home and took things we loved. How could anyone do such a thing? Didn’t they read the sign on the lawn that reads “Eden II School for Children with Autism?” These poor children who may not understand why good people do bad things were left to question, why? Andrew is completely uncorrupted by society and would never do anything intentionally to hurt someone. He knows no war, he witnesses no crime. All he knows is love, and love is all that he gives unconditionally.
We may never understand why, but there is a happy ending to of this. People are good; people do care. A local boy donated his own pet hamster to the school; his parents should be so proud! Yesterday, the school was so grateful to Best Buy, who donated many electronics to replace those that were stolen, including Wii consoles and a camcorder. The parents, administrators and students are elated. Best Buy was so wonderful to do this. Immediately the parents of the school passed emails around … I love Best Buy! I will tell everyone to shop there!
You make me happy when skies are gray … Eden II’s sunshine has not been taken away after all. Thanks to the generosity of Best Buy and many other good samaritans.
Today, Andrew is 11 years old and a good thing came out of a bad situation. It’s a good birthday in spite of everything that happened to his school.
Autism teaches us many lessons. Not the least of which is an important reminder of the kindness, the essential goodness of people – especially when life suddenly throws you the unimaginable.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ANDREW!
To offer support, a monetary or in-kind donation:
Eden II School for Children with Autism
Attn: Randy Horowitz
150 Granite Ave,
Staten Island, NY 10303
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