In my other life I am a teacher. I have been blessed for seven years to work at a school that believes in accepting everyone for who they are. I know I got my job because God meant for me to be there, not for me, but because C1 needed an awesome program for high functioning autistic children, and this school has a top notch program. The bonus is, even though C1 graduated, I still get to work there.
We have the best secretary, R. She also has a special needs daughter who is a few years older than C1. She has shown me the ropes and is a wealth of information for me. I know I can go to her with any questions and she will have an answer, and if she doesn't she knows where to send me! As a bonus she got to see my daughter grow from a little freshman to a high school graduate. She is kind, compassionate, funny and gracious. I feel blessed to have her in my life.
Tonight R invited C1 to a pool party at her house for her daughter. Let me tell you, it is so nice to be among "our people." There were 4 girls and one guy, ranging in age from 17 to 49. They all had special needs of some kind and everyone had such a great time.
It is so nice to not have any pretenses: whose child is smarter, better, more athletic or prettier. There's no one-up-man-ship about who made the lead in the school play, or made All Stars, or has a scholarship to Yale (yeah, I don't know anyone who falls into the last category, but I do love hyperbole). It is so nice to have parent-friends who think your kid is as cool as you do, and you feel the same about theirs. Sometimes those parents of NTs are so boring, predictable and snobbish. Who needs that?
These kids all got along so well tonight. They were relaxed and instant friends. This is what is so cool about the special needs set, no warm-ups, no shyness, just "Hey, I'm C" and off they go...into the pool, playing the same game, laughing at the same things...just....being. Being who they are, who they were born to be, no worries about hair, bathing suits, or bodies. Just humans being themselves. No walls. No stereotypes. Just love.
The amazing dynamic is how they help and nurture each other. S, the 49 year old and only guy there (and to quote R's hubby "he's a stud in a pool with four girls and he doesn't even know it"), doesn't talk much, but these girls were attentive, asking him if he wanted more pizza, soda or if he needed to use the bathroom. C1 offered to help N, who has CP, with her shirt when she had trouble getting it right-side-out. M, who was the deep-end goalie with a smile that would blow you away. L, my friend's daughter, who was the hostess with the mostest, blowing Martha Stewart away with her skills.
I wish you all could have been there. There was a perfectness tonight that doesn't happen very often, when raw beauty and acceptance get together and throw a party (see what I did there?) We were relaxed and happy. It was symbiotic. It blew me away.
I am blessed that I get to see such a glimpse of grace every once in a while. Honestly, if I didn't have C1, I would miss out on these moments that mean more to me than you can imagine. I wouldn't trade it for anything.
This was a good day.