• Laura Sylvester

An Angel for Aaron

Good Dog! Koa's Mom - Lisa

posted with permission by Aaron's Mom, Lisa

The past two days have marked a turning point in our family’s life. We went back to Disneyland for the first time in five years! August is typically the most difficult month for Aaron, and one of the most crowded months at “Neeland" (as Aaron used to call it) but we just had a hunch our boy was ready. And, of course we have Koa now... As we walked up to the gates, Steve and I both choked up. How could we not feel that way? Aaron was happily skip-walking along, Koa’s leash in his little hand, Small World playing in the background. The moment was awesome. Aaron did not show any trepidation. He was just HAPPY … Our sweet boy, who frequently struggles with some of life’s easiest tasks, was centered and joyful. The moment took our breath away.

Koa lived up to his name these past two days. He showed up for Aaron. He infuses, not just Aaron, but Steve and I, with a strength we haven’t had until he came into our lives. He is brave. He is bold. He is fearless. He DOES NOT CARE that Aaron might melt down because he is too hot and overstimulated. He doesn’t mind that he Aaron doesn’t have all of his words or gets upset because his shirts aren’t soft enough. He does not run away when things get hard! In fact, Koa goes to Aaron to see what he can do to help. Aaron is his boy.

Koa shows up for Aaron every single time. Yesterday, we were at Disneyland for 2 1/2 hours. We went on the train first, then Autotopia. What happened next floored Steve and I. Aaron decided he wanted to go on the Submarine. So, the four of us went on the SUBMARINE. The dark, enclosed, super loud, tight-spaced SUBMARINE. What??? We could not have imagined this as a possibility before Thursday. And you know what, Koa and Aaron rocked that Sub like champs.


We decided to leave Disneyland after that moment because really, anyone who has done this Autism thing for more then a few months will tell you, leave while things are successful! We left, but knew we would need to go back because we didn’t have the chance to get the actual Disney pass. So, this morning, we decided to roll the dice and go back... For a minute I seriously thought we were insane. I thought we’d be there maybe two hours. Two hours, nope, not two hours, we were at Disneyland for over 5 hours!! I still can’t believe it happened. You have to understand something, this is a boy who has a hard time going to the store or to the park, but he spent 5 hours at Disneyland.

Today was something we haven’t seen. Today was spectacular. Today our hard work, the hundreds, maybe thousands of therapy hours and parenting training hours came together. And let us not forget the massive amount of time and training that has gone into Koa, all of it came together, creating this magical space for our family.

Any parent knows that when your child is experiencing true joy, there’s nothing better. Nothing. Watching your child embrace joy, allowing it to fill their heart is something that parents of Special Needs children can have a hard time experiencing. It’s not that we don’t believe our kids are capable of joy, it’s that the struggles our kids face on a daily basis can mess with their opportunities for joy.

I am trying to find the right words to tell you how we feel and share how grateful we are…We are just so thankful and hopeful

And dear, sweet, full of energy Koa…Do you know how special you are? Do you know you are truly Aaron’s Angel? Thank you for giving our boy focus, strength, and bravery. Thank you for being his anchor and most of all, thank you for being his best friend. We love you Koa. XOXO - Lisa

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