So, I’m back after a two day hiatus. Sorry. I am sure you all missed me tremendously.
First, I want to thank everyone for all of the kind words written on my last post, One Month. It really was overwhelming to have so many people tell me that they think I am doing a great job. I also want to let my cousin, Caitlin (a long time blogger) and her mother, my Aunt Debi, know that I will write something special for the both of them, taking into consideration their requests, very very soon.
With that said, I want to tell you why I feel all warm and fuzzy inside right now.
This morning Mia went to her first REAL, kid’s only, birthday party. It was held at Connecticut Gymnastics Academy. No, this wasn’t her first invite to a party; on the contrary she has received many. We normally politely decline, or say maybe, with the common clause of “I’m not sure if we will stay very long”, or “it depends on how Mia’s day is going”. It almost comes as a painful relief when we aren’t invited places. On the one hand it hurts immensely, but on the other, it hurts less than always having to explain why. But, this time, I knew from the beginning it would be different. That we would actually be attending. And here is why:
Lately Mia has been talking a lot about “fantastic gymnastics”. Probably because one of her favorite TV shows did a segment on gymnastics. She also has been talking A LOT about friends lately (her school friends and making new ones). She interacts with children A WHOLE LOT better than she used to. She will say hello and attempt to engage them, and when they engage her in any sort of conversation or play she is more likely to respond then years before. So, when Mia was invited to go, Roger and I jumped at the chance.
To prepare Mia for the party we started talking to her about it on Friday. Explaining to her whose birthday it was, that it wasn’t her party and what she would be doing there. She seemed really excited. Last night she even started carrying around a picture of the birthday boy, Finn, while saying “Mi primo Finn’s Birthday” (English translation: “My cousin Finn’s Birthday”). It was really cute and it served to prove, once more, that she understands everything that is told to her, whether or not she acknowledges it.
This morning when she woke up she was really energized about the party, and kept saying “fantastic fantastics” – her way of saying fantastic gymnastics. She was psyched. I was apprehensive. And Roger was indifferent – not in a bad way though.
It actually worked out great. Maybe I need to have a little bit more faith in our ability as her parents, and maybe even a little bit more faith in Mia. Regardless though, the activities were really very structured and for Mia that makes a HUGE difference. The kids split up into two groups, but not before Finn could make one request: could Mia be in his group? I have to admit, this kind of blew me away. Whether or not his parent’s told him to include her is really immaterial, he remembered in the midst of all the excitement that Mia was there and wanted to include her. And, he is only five. How wonderful is that? I also know that to the untrained eye Mia may not have looked as if she noticed or even cared, but I knew she heard him say her name by the rapid excitement that ensued. She was really excited that someone her age to wanted to include her. In some small way, his including her and her excitement at that inclusion, gives me hope for the future. A hope that maybe other children will treat her with as much respect. A hope that Mia will continue to grow and learn how to adapt in situations outside of her comfort zone. And a hope that eventually she will seek out inclusion in groups where she is welcome and looked after.
The day progressed easily – something that is usually NOT the norm, but is slowly becoming it. She enjoyed playing in the foam pit. She loved the moonbounce, which is always a big hit with her. She enjoyed watching the other kids climb rope nets, and use a big rainbow parachute. She even sat down for a huge group photo with all the kids. (I would include a copy of it here but out of respect for the other parents I will not because I don’t know how they feel about their children’s faces being on the internet.)
Sticking to true party fashion, after the fun and games all the kids sat down for snacks and cupcakes. Mia happily sat down at the table. Comfortable. Maybe this was because she knew there were cupcakes to follow, but also maybe it was because she felt safe. And safety equals comfort. Yes, she was comfortable. Comfortable with the kids. Comfortable amidst the noise. And for just a moment, in my dreams atleast, comfortable within herself.
When we finally got settled at home Roger and Mia were discussing the morning. Something he does often with her. He asked her what her favorite part of the party was, and after a moment of thought, she quietly answered “people”. I have to admit I was sure her response would be “cupcakes” or “goodie bag”. I was shocked. It wasn’t even close to what we were expecting, but it was so much better.
<3 If you’re reading this, Jesse or Christine, I just want to thank you for making Mia’s day. Actually, we all had a really great time. You’re kids are wonderful. Every time I have the pleasure of seeing them I walk away impressed. You guys are the best. I love you!