My daughter Opal is three years old. She loves trampolines, playing in water, swinging, and watching a few of her favorite movies. We are HUGE Disney fans in our house, so we’re always watching Disney plus, but Opal’s absolute favorite movies include Cinderella, Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and Monsters Inc. (Monster’s Inc. AND Monster’s University!)
Opal also has Autism and is currently non-verbal. She struggles with toys and pretend play. We have tried toy after toy, but she’s just not interested. This doesn’t seem like a big deal, but as a mom, this can be devastating, because all I want to do some days is walk into Walmart and pick out any toy she wants, but some of the only things she will hang onto are the little chewy rings meant for teething babies. There’s absolutely no shame in this, it’s just where we are right now. She would rather hold a teething ring than play with any toys. That is, until today.
My husband and his mom had taken our two girls out for the morning so I could spend time with my mom because it’s Mother’s Day weekend! She wanted to pamper me, paint my nails, etc, so Ethan took the girls and his mom and they decided on having breakfast at Cracker Barrel, one of their favorite places to eat!
Lucy, my youngest, had just been changed and was being handed off to my husband Ethan, so he let go of Opal’s hand for a split second. That’s all it took.
If you’ve ever been in Cracker Barrel, you know it’s not just a restaurant, but also a little country store out in the front. There’s tons of trinkets, boutique clothing, and old fashioned candies. It’s so fun to look around at all the goodies while you’re waiting for your table.
Once Opal ran off, they chased her to find that she was standing completely still staring at something. They noticed is was a toy. It was a little Sullivan toy from Monster’s Inc. Opal waited until her Grammy handed it to her. Opal examined it, rubbed the riggidy “fur” and marveled, smiling the whole time. When they tried to grab the toy to place it back on the shelf, Opal would not let go. So what did they do? They waltzed right up to the counter and bought it. My sweet girl wanted a toy. For the first time in over a year, SHE picked a toy out!
When they told me the story later, I was in tears. Wanting toys, treasures, clothes is something most 3 year olds have no problem doing or asking for, but Opal is very content. Overly content. The only things she ever asks for is her beloved “chewy” teething ring or cookies and barbecue chips. But this toy was special. She knew and recognized that this was Sully from Monster’s Inc., one of the only movies she will tune in to.
This was a Mother’s Day “God wink” as I like to call them. I didn’t ask for anything this year, but this made my heart burst at the seems. We celebrate all victories, big and small. But, this one was a big one. A huge one.
Don’t ever lose hope. Ever. Just when you think nothing will ever change, your child will surprise you! Opal is the best at surprising me! Find the wonder in all things! My sweet Opal Grace, is holding on tightly to her new friend, James. P. Sullivan. She hasn’t let go of him since.
Opal, “I wouldn’t have nothing if I didn’t have you.” -Monsters Inc.