While our high school robotics team was hosting a huge competition, and our girls lacrosse team was holding a fundraiser, three of our high school students traveled to Stratford, NJ for the state finals in Special Olympics Bowling. I can assure you this was no easy feat for those three athletes, and meant as much to them as any other event meant to other students, and perhaps more. You see, these three youths don’t get many chances to succeed, let alone excel. The joy and pride they show when their name is called when results are announced is astounding. As a parent, I watch with mixed emotions; a whole pot full of simmering emotional stew in fact. While I am pleased that my daughter has come this far, I am displeased at how inconvenient the weekend has been. I am glad that she has had this opportunity, but sad that she has so few opportunities to participate in activities in which she is not simply a spectator. It will be nearly another year before she has the chance to participate again, and while I am somewhat relieved by not having my Saturday mornings planned in advance, I am upset for her knowing that there will long expanses of time unfilled with meaningful activity. So it was, with all that running through my mind that we sat as a family at the most recent town council meeting. We waited through awards and acknowledgements for our police force; a citizen who had been instrumental in capturing a bank robber; and our girl’s high school track team’s winning seasons until it was Hillary’s turn. Our mayor and town council were recognizing the achievements of Hillary and two of her classmates’ participation and success in the state level Special Olympics bowling competition. As I wheeled Hillary up to the podium as her name was called I was able to see the faces of the others present. What I remember is the look of astonishment and pleasure on some of those faces. Hillary was the only one in a wheelchair, and if you have never been involved in the Special Olympics bowling, you may not know that there is a ramp bowling division. It lasted only a few moments, but they are moments I won’t forget. Once we were home and she was tucked into her bed, I had time to reflect upon the recognition bestowed upon my humble daughter. I felt proud not just of her and of us for taking her to events, but of our town. It is not perfect, but I am proud to say I live in a town where someone like Hillary is given a certificate of recognition by the mayor. Any recognition of the difficulties she overcomes to participate and succeed are most welcomed, and restore in this mother’s heart the hope that somehow, Hillary is making a difference in our small corner of the world, and can truly feel that she is part of our town.