Parents never intend for these things to happen, but they do anyway. And, especially, when you have a Little with special needs, it’s nearly impossible to avoid…
Let me start here. Amelia’s birthday (Big Number 8!) was last week.
And so, as any good (crazy) mother does, I planned a sleepover for my girl. Her first one as an 8-year-old. First one ever with that many girls. (There were only four, but it felt like 44.) The girls were great, don’t get me wrong. But come on, it was my first time, too.
And while the focus was completely on Amelia and her big day, it was difficult for me to not think about Olivia. And birthday parties. And friends. And sleepovers. This is, after all, the season of camp outs, sleepovers, birthday shebangs, and just staying-up-all-night-because-we-can parties.
As I watched Olivia interact with the “big girls”, I was so proud. She kept up with them, played well, even had movie night with them before bed.
And the girls were so patient with her. So I observed. A lot. Much like watching animals in their natural habitats, I imagine. And I was keenly aware of everything going on around me. Swimming, giggling, trampoline jumping, more giggling, presents, tween-like “ooohs and ahhhhs” over the coolest gifts EVER… all the while in the back of my mind wondering what Olivia’s 8th birthday party will be like. Or even her upcoming 5th.
Every parent wants their kid to fit in…at least to a point. They’re lying if they say otherwise. And every parent wants to experience important milestones with their children, like birthday parties and sleepovers. Parents like me…parents of children with other needs…wonder if those milestones will come at all. Or, if they do, will they come at a painstaking cost? For example, will we invite a bunch of kids only to have “yes” RSVPs equaling zero? Or, on the flip side, will Olivia get no party invitations?
And this post isn’t exclusive to parties. What about playing softball? Going on daycare field trips? Being asked to the prom?
I only want to save my Liv from any pain. And, ok, I admit it…me too. But how?
Here’s where I take deep breaths.
If I could stand in front of a crowd of parents, namely the ones who live in our general area, I’d beg them this: I will not ask you to allow your child to come to Liv’s parties; I will not beg your children to invite my kid. All I can hope for, as with anything in Olivia’s life, is acceptance and consideration. But not just for her. For all kiddos. Don’t be afraid of a Little who might seem a tad different. Don’t ignore a Little or her parents because you think “it won’t matter to them.” Don’t let obliviousness turn into hurt feelings.
It does. It always will. It matters. And we won’t say anything to you, because, well…that makes us look like jerks. Feelings flare, tears might fly, defenses arise…it’ll be anarchy! (Ok, not really, but I love movie quotes.)
Wow, I’m really off track here. (And now I really want to watch The Breakfast Club.) So I’ll wrap with this: I SO hope to be posting pictures of giggling and movie night and trampoline jumping for Olivia’s parties someday. And I think she would want that, too.