On Friday morning we had a birthday party at school for Waverly. I had emailed her 4th grade teacher to see if I could bring in some treats to celebrate. She responded let's have a party for her first thing in the morning instead. Both 4th grade classes attended, as well as both ID classes. Matt and I drove the kids to school, along with a cake to feed 90 and some fresh fruit. We set up in the library. Moments later about 60 kids came rushing into the library, all wearing purple (Wavey's favorite color and the color for MPS). They each made her a card and greeted her with a "happy birthday". We all sang, to which Waverly was all smiles and giggles, and enjoyed some cake together.
There is something very special about her classmates. They have known her for 5 years. They remember when she could talk and sing. They remember when she would run around the school and each every piece of food within her reach. They ask questions. Waverly has made a tremendous impact on them. She teaches them patience and acceptance of people who are different. The kids act as her protector and friend. They help push her wheelchair or bring her walker outside for recess. They read to her and play peek-a-boo to make her smile.
One of the ways I find beauty in the midst of the tragedy that is Sanfilippo is in the impact Waverly & Oliver have on others. It is evident that these kids are going to go on to middle school and beyond encountering other kids who have special needs and they are going to remember what they learned from Wavey. They are going to show kindness and acceptance. They are going to offer a helping hand. It is truly a thing of beauty to watch. And what a testament to the benefits of inclusion for ALL involved.
I wish I could share photos, but I don't want to post anything without permission from the parents. It was a magical morning and I am grateful to VES for continuing to an incredible place for my children.