He gets her

Bridget has this super cool friend, Charlie.  Charlie is awesome. He walks her to class every day. He watches out for her at parties. Charlie is the boy that if Bridget was a typical second-grader I would be joking with his mom that I hope he stays sweet and takes her to prom one day.I’ve been trying to teach Bridget how to remember her day and tell us about it. The other night driving home from therapies, I thought to myself if this was Abby we would be talking about her day. When Abby was younger, and still today, some of my favorite conversations happened while driving in the car. I thought to myself, let’s try it.

Here is how the conversation went:

Me:  Bridget, how was school today:
Bridget: Saw Miss (teacher) then Miss (teacher)
Me:  Was it fun?
Bridget: Yes, Charlie walk me up down the stairs
Me: To Miss (teacher) room?
Bridget: (with a well, duh mom expression) Cause Charlie my best friend
Me: What did you do with Charlie in Miss (teacher) room?
Bridget: No member. Charlie my friend but he no hold my hand no more up down the stairs cause I a big girl
Me: That’s right (also, because if you fall you will take out poor Charlie and that’s not safe)
Bridget: Charlie get me.

This was both awesome and (because I’m who I am) worrisome. On one hand I hope she means what I think she means. That Charlie “gets” her and not that he got her from one place to another. Though that is pretty cool too.

I try to live in the moment with Bridget, but I know the moment is also coming when she will not be allowed to remain in the inclusion classroom as often. That’s when overthinking happens. As she ages, Charlie is going to outgrow her. He (and her other friends) are going to grow, their interests are going to become more evolved. This is how it should be. No longer will they slow down to her pace, her peers will soon be rushing to the upper elementary school. Learning about civil rights, every day math, reading and learning about the world around them.

Bridget will never read. She will read, but not on their level. She will read on a functional level. She will not be able to read and get lost in a book, in the traditional sense. So this will be a barrier to her in the inclusion room. I want her there, when appropriate. When it is social and meaningful to her and to her peers. When it builds relationships but does not magnify the differences.

I’m at a crossroads and unsure if I am making the right decisions. What parent ever is 100% confident, I know. It is imperative to me that Bridget has the Allies, Ellas, Charlies and Liams in her life. I want her to be a part of the community, I need her to have friendships and the security to know that these peers are her bodyguards. That they include her not because their mom told them to be nice to the kid not like them, but because they “get her” .

I have to figure out how to get the best of both Bridget’s worlds. The world filled with special education, therapies and resources combined with the world filled with friendships and of inclusion.

I hope someday I call Charlie’s mom and say: holy crap Charlie and his girlfriend invited Bridget to prom.

I hope that moment doesn’t break my heart when it reminds me she will never be anyone’s girlfriend.

I hope that his mom reminds me that my heart should overwhelmed with joy that we got the mix of her two worlds right.

Because Charlie (and her friends) gets her, in the way that matters.

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