I have always been a proponent of inclusion. Until COVID hit and they shut down the school system. When Bridget went back to school there was no longer a small crevice between her and her peers but a freaking canyon. Suddenly (it seemed) where Bridget was a peer, (with some differences) she was now the class pet.
When Bridget was in the public school I was very cognizant that she had to conform. She couldn’t wear “younger” clothes. I would not allow Bridget to wear anything that would make her a target. I would not let her wear a shirt or a dress with a preschool character on it. There are kind, accepting children. And then there are jerks.
I never wanted Bridget to be a target of bullies.
Even if she is unaware of the stares, it hurts my heart when I see another parent or child look at Bridget with judgement. At Halloween when she dressed up as a Disney Junior character, or watching a Disney Now program at a restaurant on my phone (something her sister NEVER would have been allowed to do) or her obsession with Princess Sophia when her peers are into teenage dramas.
The decision to move her to a school that was focused on special education, was scary yet freeing.
I no longer had to police what Bridget wore or spoke about. Because these are children on her same wavelength
It was freeing.
I can hold Bridget to a standard, yet also let her be who she wants to be.
At “professional day” at school she was Doc McStuffins. The most annoying Disney character since Calliou.
But my girl was overjoyed. Came home from school, took this photo out of her backpack and told me all about her day.
I continue to have high standards for Bridget. She can be disabled but not an asshole. She can be disabled but someday hold a job. She can be disabled but be the best she can be.
And I have to learn to let her win (not let it bother me so much) when it comes to how she dresses and what shows she watches.
I love Bridget, even though I have never met her. I love her impish smile. I love that she has beat all odds with her amazing achievements.