A Reward for Cooper

Yesterday, Cooper’s dad and I took him to the paper store.

He picked it as his reward for having an amazing week at school.

Parents outside our world probably don’t know that understanding rewards and incentives and motivation is a huge deal. Something we hope and pray for!

Cooper didn’t understand any of it until this year.

Age 9.

That also meant he was pretty hard to spoil.

But not anymore. Something clicked and he is now independently able to pick where and what he wants to work for.

Last week it was a Dora pirate costume. Before that a trip to the zoo and a pool.

This week it was a trip to JOANN Fabric and Craft Stores for colored paper.

I offered him as many sheets as he could possibly want.

He picked two. All week. He only wanted two pieces.

We prepared daily about what to expect in our trip.

We talked about wearing our mask, having a calm body, waiting in line, handing our precious items to the cashier and WAITING, busy parking lots, and every other thing we could think of.

He was ready. See, we prepare for it all. Because it took 9 years to get here.

What I didn’t prepare for was a fellow customer grabbing a clearance item without a tag, and every cashier going to assist her cashier with the price check.

Which meant the three of us were standing. Waiting. Calmly at first. But as the minutes ticked on, his anxiety rose.

Thankfully, we were able to sneak away and count to 20. And then 30. And sing The Itsy Bitsy Spider. And hold hands and take really deep breaths together until it was determined the clearance item was .99 and life could resume.

Jamie and I breathed a sigh of relief heard around the world.

He made it through. I have never been so proud of him.

Things that are easy for most or so hard for him. He lives in the moment. The now. And he tries so hard.

Families like mine ask for grace. It’s so simple really. Kindness. Patience. Grace.

And please know how huge successes like these truly are. Something special to see.

Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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