A Life Blessed
Charlie Hodge runs full-speed at the water park, expertly standing over the streams of shooting water, white-blond hair dripping, a giant smile stretched across his face. Big brother Henry and little brother Will watch curiously from the edge, weighing the pros and cons of getting wet.
“He’s the most adventurous of the three,” mom Libby Hodge laughs.
Charlie, 3, is the middle son of three boys. He goes to preschool three days a week, loves to swing at the park, paint with watercolors, the family’s black Labrador puppy, June, dancing to music with his little brother, pushing cars across the living room floor and being mom’s helper when it’s time to make chocolate chip cookies.
Charlie also has Down syndrome.
The Hodge family knows the Village well. What began as an assessment at just 5-days-old quickly became weekly occupational and physical therapy appointments, speech therapy and a weekly visit by a home educator.
“The thing I appreciated about our home educator was that she didn’t necessarily show me anything groundbreaking, but instead validated that my own natural parenting instincts are the best thing for Charlie,” Libby said. “Parenting a child with special needs isn’t necessarily any different than any other child; they all bring with them their own unique sets of joys and challenges.”
For three years the Children’s Village team encouraged, prodded and celebrated every victory alongside the Hodges. This year, they helped transition Charlie’s services to the school district where he attends preschool.
“Charlie has taught our family to slow down and live for the moment,” she said. “There is such beauty and joy in the unexpected, and that’s the adventure.”
To read more about Charlie and raising a child with special needs, visit Libby’s blog: Blessings and Glory.