Being included

Last year I was humbled and so surprised when Boo was invited to another child’s birthday party. I remember writing that she was included, that the children in her classroom see Boo and not a child with a  disability. But I worried that she wasn’t really a peer. It ended up being a moot point, as we were unable to attend the party due to a family commitment.

At that time a friend wrote to me and said it so wonderfully that just that day her children, both of them, proclaimed Boo to be their friend. That in children’s minds they are all peers. It really is just us adults that make the mistake of thinking otherwise.

I have remembered those kind words. You see, Boo was invited to another birthday party. Yes, I was kind of worried and spoke to the mom (who is also Boo’s therapist at school) but those words kept coming back to me. I decided to be honest and let her know my fear. That we wanted to attend, but I didn’t want her daughter to be disappointed when Boo, well is Boo. The party was being held at a gymnastics center, there would be obstacles and activities that she just wouldn’t understand. She might become overwhelmed or disruptive. I honestly didn’t want Boo to detract from another little girl’s first ‘for real’ birthday party.

Thankfully, the mom completely understood and reassured me that all would be fine. I’m sure it helped that she works with Boo a couple times a week! We went and Boo had a great time. Sure, she didn’t participate like the other children. The teenagers running the party had to pay her more attention. They were accepting and kind. I only had to rescue her twice when she got overwhelmed. The older children attending the party made sure she was safe and the youngers ones just ran around her.

But she had fun! She ran around the obstacle course in her own manner. She ate her cupcake (and tried to eat the child’s next to hers). She watched her friend open presents (and tried to steal them). She squealed at the Princess goody cup and stickers. She proclaimed HAPPY DAY and HAPPY CAKE to her friend.

She was a typical kid having fun at a birthday party.  And just like that typical kid, she barely stayed awake for the ride home!

I am so thankful that last year a kind friend planted the seed: that adults see the disability not the children. I realized as I was writing this post that four years ago I never imagined this day. THIS day that Boo would be invited to a party not because of inclusion but because of friendship.

A happy day indeed.

10 thoughts on “Being included

  1. icansaymama

    What a wonderful event! I am so glad that Boo finally got to attend her first birthday party and that you could finally see that she acted like her peers and fit in so well! Happy for you! xoxo


  2. Janine Huldie

    Truly wonderful and we just went to my niece's 4th birthday party this past weekend at a gymnastics place, too. And it is so true, we see the disabilities more then any of the kids really do, because my other niece has speech and learning issues and the other kids always include her and never make her feel any differently. Even at the birthday party this weekend, she was right in the thick of it all. So, honestly couldn't agree more and just so happy Boo had a wonderful time and day!! 🙂


  3. Rich Rumple

    Okay, this one got to me. I'm so happy, not just for you, but for Boo. To be included and accepted can be such a fantastic thing for her to experience. I know the joy is in your heart, as well as Boo's! Great post!


  4. Michelle

    Yay for a successful bday party attendance on Boo's part! Glad she had fun at the gymnastics party. She looks so grown up in those pictures compared to your header (obviously she was much younger then, but what a difference!) and sidebar pics!



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