Every year I am asked, “What do you want for Christmas?”. This is always hard for me, because I don’t like to say what I want. I want to be happy with what I have. This year was different. When I have already been given the perfect gift and do not need anything else.
This was the first year Bridget hosted a birthday party.
With just friends she wanted to invite. No family. No “you have to invite X”. Of course she couldn’t tell me who she wanted to invite. All she said was she wanted a princess pizza party. So I asked her teachers.
They gave me a list of 10 fellow students. Not one of them from her SPED Class. They were all from her village.
I could not face inviting 10 fourth graders (I admit to being a wimp). I chose six, and five could attend.
It was awesome.
The first girl arrived and said “you know I’m surrounded by brothers, right? I really need this girls day with Bridget”.
Another girl came and said “thank you for inviting me. I feel special Bridget chose me”.
Apparently there was a 4th grade pow-wow over who got an invite to the pizza party.
What I noticed, was they knew Bridget was not the same. They instructed her (without me asking or interfering) to make her pizza. They helped her wipe her mouth when there was sauce everywhere. They eagerly opened her presents with her (and let me tell you they chose the best gifts ever). And then this happened:
This is inclusion, people. This is not saying Bridget is different or she needs help. It’s Bridget is next and then it’s your turn. It’s peers showing her how to flip a pizza but more…its the perfect gift to a mom who has been fighting for her daughter to be seen as a part of her community and not a community project. The girls did not come because they pitied Bridget or because their parents forced them.
They came because they are Bridget’s friends.
I don’t need a gift this year. Because these five girls in 4th grade gave me a gift they have no knowledge of the value.
The gift of belonging. The gift of acceptance. The gift of true friendship.
My Christmas Wish List has been fulfilled.