Our special needs daughter turned 30 big ones the other day. Im still trying to wrap my exploding head around that one. It is probably why I am sitting here reflecting and thinking about the amazing journey our family has traveled so far with Mimi. While the yellow brick road hasnt always been so smooth tripped a couple of times over some loose bricks and a couple of overgrown tree roots I can safely say we still have our ruby-red slippers with sparkly sequins intact. Wicked witches and flying monkeys beware. We carry multiple indestructible magic wands in our back pockets. Over the years, I have been a witness to many amazing people that continue to pass through Mimis interesting life as we skip toward Oz. All those cheerful bus drivers delivering Mimi and her wheelchair home in the pouring rain come to mind. There have also been dedicated teachers, amazing therapists, skilled orthopedic surgeons, sleepless summer camp buddies, lovely classroom aides oh, and Im just getting started. Some have shown to have the gray matter of a most intellectual scarecrow like Miss Marie. Only she is way cuter than Ray Bolger with hay hangin out of his sleeves! It takes lots of imagination for a therapist to teach a skill a hundred different ways like, for instance, a pincer grasp. Babies between nine and 12 months of age usually learn that little milestone of using their thumb and index finger together to perform a task. I think Mimi was in middle school when it was finally checked off! And a most ginormous check mark it was! Covered one whole wall and the ceiling in our family room. Did I mention I ran into Marie the other day at the beauty parlor? We were both getting the color of our roots altered. Marie was Mimis occupational therapist all those years ago. I still tease her about teaching Mimi to pinch people. I say that with a Cheshire cat grin across my thankful face. Just try and pick up a slippery blue M&M without using those two fingers. I dare you! I have also been an eyewitness to a bunch of people with the heart of the Tin Man with the way they cared for Mimi. Makes me think of the days when we visited our pediatrician. Dr. Penn, our local physician/magician, was a great doctor for all my kids, but especially Mimi. Then, despite my best plans, the kids grew up. Dont you hate when that happens? Every couple of years, Dr. Penn emails to set up a lunch date with Mimi. Who does that? We meet at a local deli, Mimi hugs Dr. Penn a hundred times like it was yesterday and we chat about how glorious life is. I saved Heather for last! Last year I was looking to hire someone to help me bathe Mimi. I met Heather at her mothers doctors office while Mimi was having her yearly physical. We got to chatting. Heather mentioned she would be hanging out for a year until she started medical school. One thing led to another and pretty soon Heather was the one who made bath time a party at our house. For 11 months, there was lots of singing, hugging and new hairdos on Mimi. Heather recently left us for medical school. I wish her the very best! Her visits will always be fondly remembered just like watching reruns of the happiest parts of The Wizard of Oz. Dixie Frantz is a Kingwood resident and newspaper columnist for the past 18 years. Email comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can also visit Dixies blog at http://lifesloosethreads.com.

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