For the first time, Wilson is participating in Show-and-Tell at school today. I told him to pick just one toy to bring to school and show his friends and assured him it would go right back home where it belongs after school. His wonderful teachers had us write up some information about the toy to help Wilson answer potential questions that classmates will ask about it.
This is inclusion. The kind that is so simple but pings me in the deepest part of my mama heart.
These are the kinds of things that Wilson hasn’t always participated in. With limited verbal communication, he often has a hard time understanding what is being asked of him. I could pick an item for him and send it with him to celebrate/share/join in the fun but unless there is support/facilitation from teachers, it would likely just remain in his backpack all day.
Spontaneous questions are hard for him to answer, so the thoughtfulness in getting the information about his toy to help support him in that conversation with classmates is so beautiful.
He has grown so much. He understood exactly what was being asked and marched up to his toy closet.
He chose his Mickey Mouse Jack in the box.
For his ninth birthday, our amazing friends scored a Mickey Mouse Jack in the Box, knowing how much our guy loves Mickey and is enamored with Jack in the Boxes of any variety.
I am writing this for everyone.
I often remind myself why I am here, sharing this boy’s story. I wonder who is listening.
I know parents who have struggled to find new Barney toys for their twelve-year-old, or a Paw Patrol shirt for their teen. As caregivers, I think we all find that point where the whole “age-appropriate toy” thing flies out the window, no longer stings, and we just want the thing that will make our kids HAPPY. You are not alone no matter where you are in this journey.
For the teachers, friends, and family who meet and celebrate our kids right where they are… thank you, it really means everything.
Sometimes the simplest things (kindness + inclusion) are actually really, really big things in someone else’s world.
I share this boy’s journey because I want everyone to see the challenges, all the hard work, and the reminder that everyone is fighting a battle you cannot see. But I also want you to see ALL. THE. JOY. It’s everywhere. It’s not missing or lacking or sad because it is sometimes found in different ways or places or things.
Different. Not less.
Also pictured: Auntie gave him a new pirate costume and ship for Christmas and YO-HO MATEY you better believe we had a fabulous Christmas with Captain Wilson.