So Saturday was Michael’s birthday party with his friends, party number 4. Yes, I sometimes worry that his “healthy” self-esteem may morph into conceit over “his” day, but so far so good. 🙂 He always has a party at school, one on his actual day with us and one side of the family, another one on another day with the other side of the family, and then of course, his outside of school party. This was the one we had yesterday at our local YMCA.He had requested a sports themed party and that was what we got. I was a little nervous that I did not disclose that all the children at this part have special needs, but knew the Y’s reputation for acceptance and integration so I crossed my fingers, toes and other body parts that his first “center” party outside of our house with friends would go well. It did not only go well, but was phenomenal!
Like with practically everything since his birth, Michael continues to amaze me with what he can do, cope with, and knows. His friends do the same. There they were, all with various sensory issues, balance/coordination delays and what not, playing sports with the animators. Their limits were not visible. All I saw and filmed were a bunch of boys, and one girl, playing, laughing, running, being kids like all kids, and having fun with the two animators. My heart sang with joy, and I have the beautiful memories captured on video! They played soccer, basketball, and floor hockey while the proud Moms and Dads chatted on the sidelines watching. Seeing the joy of these kids being kids, no therapy schedules, no IEP goals, no measuring against others, was so inspiring to me. It also was uplifting to me, to all the parents there, whose kids struggle with one thing or another. For us, with Michael’s behavioral challenges and emotional issues, having a joyful carefree afternoon where I saw him happy and relaxed was therapy for me. It reminded me how, like a dear friend recently put it, Michael is finding his own way in the world, exploring, learning, growing with ups and downs, and I am here only as “his tour guide” in this world. He is and has shown me a different way of being in the world, and helping me experience how to be the best “me” I can so I can help him be the best “him” he can.
Exceptional Parents, how many times have you had those moments with your Exceptional Child/dren that took your breath away? How many times have you sat back and watched them shine and see them as the child they are, no work to be done on them? It’s hard as society tells us our kids are broken. I assure you they are not. They have different ways of seeing the world and challenges, but with our help, encouragement, and humor, we can expose them to all kinds of possibilities and open up their world as they have opened up ours for the better. Don’t shy away from trying anything new. Let intuition, your child’s and their childlike excitement, be your guide to letting the whole family and community experience the joy of having our kids participate in every day kid activities. Until next time.