The Valentine’s Day Maze Walk



Sometimes life can be a maze. You run into dead ends, have to back-track, then try a new promising avenue, only to bump into another dead end. But, the road that leads to success is always there waiting to be discovered, and each time we’ve hit a dead end, we can cross that off the list and know we are that much closer to the road to success.

Over the last few days, Wil and I have been stuck in that maze. Valentines Day is coming up, and all his classmates are going to exchange those cute, little Valentine cards. Each student is to write who the card is “To” and “From” on their cards, themselves. Many of us parents get our kids started on this task early, because we know all too well how difficult it is to get our little ones to sit still and write out three cards, let alone more than 20. Place on top of that a child that has difficulty with fine motor skills squeezing in print on these tiny cards, and this chore quickly becomes painstaking.

Wil learned to write his name early this year in his Kindergarten class. Hooray, I thought, Wil can write his name on his own cards this year!! Wil took one look at those cards and made it very clear he did not share my enthusiasm. He simply refused to do a single one. I’m not one for stereotypes, but that stubbornness kids with Down syndrome have a reputation for….Wil proves it true. If he doesn’t want to do something, it takes a heck of a lot of coaxing and patience to change his  mind.

Wil had a wonderful speech therapist in preschool, and she knows him very well. She suggested he write his name on a piece of paper and scan it onto labels, that can then be placed on the cards. How perfect is that…he can write his name any size he wants, still have his own signature on the cards, and peeling and placing labels would be a good fine motor exercise!

So, after school yesterday, off we went to Kinkos…Wil, myself and his twin 7-year old sisters. I explained our plan to the Kinko’s rep, had the Valentine cards with me for size, and we got started. Wil wrote his name on an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper with a big, black sharpie. Then, the Kinko’s rep went off to scan and print on labels.

I’m not sure what took so long, but it took a loooooong time, and my kids were very good at reminding me how long this was taking. I finally promised them a fast-food dinner. I won’t win mom of the year points for that, but in times like these, I’m really good at racking up the “whatever works” points.

Finally, the finished product was ready! We all ran up to the counter to take a look. His name was the correct size for the cards, but very faint. Apparently, scanning his name so small made the print light and this was the best they could do. I was less than thrilled with their best. Deflated and tired, we left, and headed off to Wendy’s for Frosties and Kid’s Meals.

When we got home, I decided to sit down with Wil once again, to see if I could coax just a “W” out of him on a few Valentine cards. Guess what….he actually sat there and wrote his name 22 times to complete every card! Way to go Wil!

We definitely walked through a maze together on this one. We started out and hit a dead end very quickly, then backed up, and walked down a very promising road, that ended up turning into a long walk with a dead end. Again, we back-tracked, and revisited that first road but made a different turn. That different turn led us to success. If we hadn’t walked those other roads, we wouldn’t have known to go back to where we started and to take that different turn. It can be tiring walking all these new roads just to go back where we started. But if we didn’t exhaust the new roads, we would never would have recognized that slight turn off the first road that leads to success.


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