Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dear Target... Thank You, Love Reid

Oh dear, there is so much dust on this little blog of mine.... but I am attempting to post, but posting I must do with one hand wrapped over my eyes so as to shield me from the sight that my blog is still stuck in, gulp, Christmas mode.... and that I have not posted since January. But, good news is that anyone reading this post... who may also feel crazy busy... maybe even frenzied at times in their life can pat themselves on the back and feel good in the fact that at least their blog does not scream CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY CHEER at the end of May! So... you are welcome!

So, why after all this time roll up your sleeves and set your fingers back on the keyboard you might ask? Well, it has to do with a picture, and as the saying goes a picture is worth a thousand words... this one can illicit about that many from me... whether I get them all out is another thing.

That picture is this one... 

I actually don't physically have it in my hands yet but my friend, Sharon, on the east coast alerted me to it as she received her new summer Target catalog in the mail yesterday and this shot is featured on the back. The little blonde haired, blue glasses wearing, baseball uniform sportin guy is Reid. I love, LOVE when companies feature children with special needs in their print ads... it is amazingly sad how under represented our children are in this field... but I think there is a new growing awareness and more and more companies are recognizing this and making sure our children are included, and Target is definitely leading the way. 

Honestly, had it not been Reid in this ad but another one of his friends with Down syndrome I would have still done the same internal standing ovation for Target and still re-vowed my ferocious allegiance to them because it is just that special to see kids being kids... no matter the number of chromosomes or special need.

But, since it is Reid .... I get to share details or parts from the shoot that are not visible to anyone else and are stored in my heart. 

This opportunity came quite out of the blue.... Back in January we got a call from Infantino, (who ran the Everybody Plays Campaign that Reid was fortunate to be a part of in the fall).... and told us that an agent was looking for a little boy with Down syndrome for a Target ad that was to be shot soon there after and wanted to know if we were interested... and then one thing led to another...

Which led me to driving Reid out to Malibu for the shoot. As I started to get closer to the location a frog settled in my throat and tears began to fall as I traveled down Pacific Coast Highway, taking in the beauty of where I was and the beauty of the opportunity before us. I kept looking back at him in the rear view mirror and I kept thinking... "Good for you little guy. Good. For. You.... that you get this neat opportunity to be visible in a world when so many times our kids are not". They just aren't sadly. The tears continued to welp up, it's a wonder we made it there in one piece as I traveled with tear blurred vision... I was just really happy for him and humbled yet again as to where his little extra chromosome has taken us as a family.

I finally found composure as we parked and walked in. I had no idea what to expect but as we were greeted one of the gals asked Reid if he would like to dress up in a baseball uniform... He smiled huge and said "Yes!!!" Seriously, seriously?... that could not have been any more perfect for Reid's baseball fanatic personality. His little cleats even lit up for heaven's sake... he. was. on. cloud. nine.

When I look at this picture there are things that make me just giggle...  like the silver trophy he is holding, well.... that was actually the 2nd trophy because the first one which was actually gold, well, umm.... it kinda slipped out of my guy's hand and was no longer functional. Whoopsie ;). 2nd, the grass stains on the boys' pants.... that is actually grass stain spray paint (who knew there was such a thing??). The patch of grass the kids are on.... not too easy to tell but just beyond are stairs that take you down to the beach and cozy little beach front cottages. I don't know this for sure but it reminded me a lot of the summer beach house scenes from the movie Spanglish. 

It was on that patch of grass the kids took a break in between shooting and hit a few baseballs. When it was Reid's turn I remember watching the kids all inch closer to him thinking he would not be able to hit the ball very far... the competitive mom in me secretly hoped he would just wallop the heck out of the ball and show 'em... and I laughed out loud when he did! Wallop he did and the kids cheered and hollered as they ran to retrieve the ball that inched ever so close to the crest above the beach below. Perhaps it was this moment for Reid that helped him feel like one of the guys but during that break I walked over to him to try and brush his hair, and in embarrassed teenager fashion he told me.... "Stop mom, my hair not cwwazzy!!". 

When I look at that picture I think of all those moments above and of how amazingly clear Reid's speech was that day in that setting and of the incredible "Baby Wrangler" Mark (pictured here with Reid) who was positioned just outside the scope of the shot.... who rallied the kid troops to relax, smile, giggle and just do their thing....

But, it is my heart that looks at that picture and thinks back to the "me" when he was born and I think had someone been able to have fast forwarded 5 years for me on the day Reid was born and been able to show me this picture I know I would have grabbed it, clutched it between my fingers and squinted close trying to imagine that that would one day be my guy... it would have given me a much needed giggle and smile through my tears as I laid there in that hospital bed... how soothing to my soul that would have been on one of the best yet hardest days of my life as it was also the day we learned of his diagnosis. ...a day that I worried about his future and worried that life as I knew it was over.... little did I know that not only was it NOT over it was about to expand in a multitude of ways and become even more beautiful....

Those are the parts... the parts you wouldn't be able to see unless I shared...

To end this post I think I'll simply leave it with my son's words as I imagine he would say them....

Dear Target, 

Thank you, thank you that you give my friends and I an opportunity to be seen as the "typical" children that we are in your advertising. My Poppa said he'll always shop at your store because he likes what you stand for... personally I like your awesome  cleats that light up when I round the bases! Because of you one of my classmates at preschool brought this ad in and asked if I would sign it, that's kinda cool for a kid my age! I plan to ask my favorite mailman when he finally delivers your summer catalog to my door to turn it around so I can show him who is on the back. I know he will like it because we are good pals!