If we were having a glass of wine, I would tell you that Bridget had a fantastic birthday. Remember that birthday party I told you about? The one where no one knew her name. I spoke to the teacher and apparently it might have been because the children were only familiar with Bridget in class. She wondered if it was because they were someplace different. She told me when Bridget enters the class it is like Norm entering Cheers! I doubted her until this came home:
If we were having a glass of wine I would tell you…
That tomorrow is the “big” day. Bridget starts kindergarten. I would tell you that I spoke with both her SPED teacher and her kindergarten teacher. Both women are kind, generous with their time and willing to collaborate with me to make Bridget as safe as possible. I’m still scared as hell. I’m also hopeful that my friend, Dana, is right and in 3 months I will be telling you I was worried for no valid reason. Continue reading
We have all been there. You go to Back to School night and see the PTA table and quickly run past. Do not make eye contact you say to yourself. You don’t have time. You are not one of “them”. Those stay at home moms who cannot just let their kid go to school and be independent. You maybe go to one or two events a year. You may feel guilty enough to pay the $10 membership fee. You want to support the kids so you write the check grateful you got out easy.
I was once like you.
I feared the PTA. Continue reading
This summer I have taken more time off of work than I ever have in the past. I have taken more time to spend with my family. I have traveled and I have connected. I have also disconnected from my phone/e-mail/social crap. I have read more books this summer and watched less reality TV.
I’m freaking exhausted. Continue reading
It finally happened. Bridget was invited over for her first ever official play date. A girl she went to school with last year had moved onto kindergarten without Bridget. Although “A” made new friends in kindergarten she never forgot her first “best friend” Bridget. She invited us to birthday parties and other events.
This would be the first time I would be just dropping off Bridget and going to work. In full disclosure, the mom is a trusted ESP who knows Bridget inside and out. I probably would not have been comfortable otherwise. Nervous, though, when I heard other neighborhood girls might be over to play.
Will they understand Bridget? I wondered. What if her friend is embarrassed or doesn’t want to play with her when her friends arrive? I worried.
For nothing. While I was at work worried that Bridget would not be accepted this happened:
She also played tea party, play dough (a substance banned from my house), painted and played. Bridget spun on the gymnastics bar and tried to do a cartwheel. She had snack and watched Sofia with the girls. She played Legos and colored. Bridget played for hours with children her actual, not developmental, age and older then her. It wasn’t noticed by any of the children that she was different than them.
My heart got three sizes too large as the text updates came in.
To “repay” our friend we had them over for dinner the following night. I watched as “A” interacted with Bridget. How she slowed down for her without realizing or explained how to play with the Barbie. I thought this is how it will be for Bridget. All her hard work, the therapies, the schooling will enable her to forge friendships. The typical peers will accept her for who she is and she will be included in their lives. Not because they have to, because they like Bridget.
Then “A” called Bridget a weirdo.
Here’s the thing though, Bridget was acting silly. “A” wasn’t being mean at all. She was laughing and treating Bridget just like she would any of her other friends. She called her on her silly behavior. When her mom (horrified) went to explain that “weirdo” wasn’t a nice word, “A” replied: it’s my best friend Bridget. I would never hurt her, she was just being silly and we were laughing. I felt bad, honestly. I had overheard the exchange and knew “A” didn’t mean any harm. She was just laughing with her friend. Yet thankful that my friend had overheard as well and used the moment to make sure that harmful words would not used to describe my child.
Sometimes a word is just a word but it serves as a learning moment for a little girl who just repeated a term she used in school.
One word she will now defend her best friend Bridget against.
Her Best Friend Bridget
Tim Teebow’s foundation is doing something many think is quite awesome. His foundation will be sponsoring a prom for children with special needs. The event is being held in 50 different sites throughout the country. I know I should be giving this huge thanks and appreciation but I don’t get it.
Why do children like Bridget need their own prom? Continue reading
Today’s Throw Back Post is from 18-NOV-2013.
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.
On Dec 31st we all made resolutions: more me time, more patience, more living and (a favorite) to enjoy 2015 to the fullest. But it seems that 2015 is going to be very difficult to tame. As a friend of mine recently posted: she is done with 2015.
For many of us 2015 hasn’t begun well. Back to school and back to Every Day Freaking Math. The amount of life changes in just 7 days seems overwhelming. Friends have received deployment orders (so much for no more boots on the ground). Another special friend has suffered a tremendous loss. Still one more has lost their job.
Even Mother Nature is picking on us. Did I mention it was only 18 degrees this morning? Continue reading
The year of 2014 was quite frankly amazing. Not in solve world peace amazing. Amazing for being a year where chances were taken, dreams came true, fears were realized, firsts happened, some times I broke but more importantly miracles happened.
In January, I started out with a bunch of goals and Bridget went to her first ever movie. Frozen has become an obsession that we are more than okay with. I also struggled with Bridget’s diagnosis of Autism. I kind of broke. Like hard. I learned something important that month. That friendships are there when you need them most.
February made me thankful that I could give a shout out to my blogging friends. Something I never imagined back in 2012. These friendships have become just as important as my ‘real life’ ones. While I might have felt SMALL I made the conscious effort to end the private mommy-war we all face.
In March I wrote Dear Abby letter, no not the advice columnist! Thanking her for changing my life (in a good way). I also promised the next time I see a parent in a restaurant looking overwhelmed I would buy them a glass of wine instead of looking at them in judgement. I also realized I am not a hero or a martyr, that sometimes I am just done. As in D-O-N-E being a mom with special needs.
April I was beyond thankful for Bridget’s teachers and their encouragement to let her spend one more year (decade?) in pre-K. I put a call out for a real-life Dr. House (and was given a lifeline). To have a stranger reach out, to have Bridget’s team support her, there really isn’t much more to ask.
May I remembered when I was that mom in the elevator. I was so thankful for Bridget’s speech team that brought a happy tear to my eye. I was overwhelmed by the response of the My Challenge Series and the friends that have participated. I hope to have it back up in the New Year so stayed tuned and send me your challenge!
June brought us relief. I had finally conquered my field trip fear and it was worth it to see Bridget engaging with her friends. We traveled to Georgia on the hope that we would find an answer to Bridgetitis.
July I am thankful to see was a lot of fun. Really. I wrote a letter to myself, which was very therapeutic. Eli from Coach Daddy had an idea on how to make yourself feel better. Write a letter to yourself and do not open it for five years. I think I am going to print this letter out and remind myself of where I was in 2014.
August was the month of travel. I am beyond thankful for the friends who include us on their trips. Giving me the most relaxing vacations ever. I struggled with the prompt the most amazing thing my body has done…but am glad I decided to participate.
September found me getting dirty and finding myself in the Mud. I’m already signed up for next year, that is how empowering that race was for me. I’m thankful I could get out of my comfort zone (and safety nets) to find out how strong I can be.
October I took a leap of faith (in myself) and transitioned to this new blog home. What do you think of our new digs? Thankfully I brought my neighbors with me. October also brought me to my knees in joy when I captured Bridget count for the first time to five and beyond (and get most of the numbers in the right place).
November taught me that when a good book ruined my day, my friends would stand with me in keeping the pledge to obliterate the “R” word. November is probably my favorite month, as I am lucky to be thankful for the amount of birthdays that occur. Even if it breaks my bank account.
Learning that there was a name for what Bridget has didn’t hurt either.
December is a month of giving thanks. It is the season of giving, of gratitude and showing you care. I wish I could carry this feeling throughout my day (let alone my blog post). Going to my class reunion, while terrifying, was so uplifting. Reconnecting with old friends, having that connection remade. There is so much to be thankful for this year.
A diagnosis, friendships, love, my girls. The list goes on. I hope as we start the New Year you take a moment to remember how wonderful 2014 really was.
My friend has convinced me to be her date at our High School Reunion. Well, her high school reunion. Growing up my life was kind of, well, in transition. I had lived in many towns and had attended many schools. I had spent most of my formative years (grades 6 through 10) in Tia’s school system before moving in my Junior year to the Cape. I realize now how much those six years held so many life changing events.
This is a group of people that included my first dance, my first kiss, my first period and my first trip out of the country. My first babysitting job, my first real job and watching the Breakfast Club while singing along to Whitney Houston. It was with this group of teens that we taught our Spanish Tour guide the words to “Celebration”. There’s a party going on right here….(come on you know the song)
While I somewhat outgrew the bad hair, my friendship with Tia has remained steadfast. So when she asked me to attend with her I said, YES OF COURSE.
But now the reunion is a few days away and I am panicking. I’ve never had the courage to attend a reunion. I was always the person who thought why go back in time? Now that I was going, the old fears came back.
What if no one remembers me? What if they do and didn’t like me back then? Please God give me a good hair day.
Tia is the only one from this town that I remain in contact. It makes sense, as I haven’t left the Cape in 25 years so my friends that I finished high school with of course I will be more involved. I don’t even think I am Facebook acquaintances with any of that Class of 89. Which seems rather odd, really.
I feel like I am back in High School. Wanting to make sure I look okay, that I don’t make any socially-awkward mistakes. I want to “fit in” with people I haven’t seen in 27 years.
How weird is that? That it takes a moment to transport you back to the Breakfast Club and worry about all the cliques. I never fit into any clique but I really wanted to back then. I wanted to belong, to be someone important, to be more… As I look back now, I didn’t fit into a clique because I was friends with at least one person in each section. The jock, the nerd, the misfit, the burn-out and the prom queen.
Maybe not the prom queen.
Why is that as a grown woman trying to instill self-confidence into my child I can still worry about nonsense. Rather than being excited that for one night I can have dinner without having a child on my lap.
Since seventh grade Tia and I have been through all of our firsts together. Most of the time because she has way more courage than I do. It seems that while many things have changed in 25 years this one thing has not: her courage to go home again and the strength true friendship gives you to face your fears.
God, I hope I have a good hair night.
That is how I finished the sentence, “I’ve never had the courage to….”
Tell me in the comments, what is something you never would have the courage to do?