As I was waiting for Oliver to finish his morning preschool session, I sat in the car listening to the radio and catching up on emails. One of the lunch periods came outside for recess and I immediately noticed a little girl I know. She is in Wavey's class, but spends time in the mainstream classroom as well. She wandered the playground, basketball court and kickball field. She loves to walk and explore. I started crying, watching this lovely little girl wander among the other children. I didn't notice anyone say hello or invite her to play with them. And then it happened. From the kickball field a little girl yelled "Hi "Mary" and ran over to give her a hug. It was just a short exchange, but my heart swelled with love for these 2 girls. It was a simple moment, just a greeting. But to a mom who has children with special needs, it meant the world to me.
My mind went back to the hallway on Waverly's first day of school this year, to the little girl who waved and said "Hi Waverly" as I walked her to her classroom. I still get tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat when I think about that.
To the parents out there who read my blog, please remember to use the moments when you are out with your children and you interact with someone who has a disability to make it a teachable moment. Most kids are afraid of children with special needs, simply because it is unknown to them. It is not easy, but how incredibly proud would you be of your child if s/he was the one who greeted a child with a disability so warmly.