But for one girl, a girl with an extra chromosome, who looks a little different, learns a little slower, and doesn't always understand what her typical peers at her age are talking about, for the parents of that same little girl, who worry about how she might be accepted by those same typical peers, who worry about how her life as a 7-year-old child is so much different, perhaps isolated by the typical peer friendships that are growing around her, it was an ordinary day.
The morning started out with a 2nd grade field trip to Mount Vernon. You may have read in my previous post how worried I was, perhaps less about behavior or safety while there than about the long bus ride, lack of seat belts, and a stranger (to us) driving her so far away from us.
Thinking about her all morning while I sat at my desk at work, toiling over something that wouldn't be too taxing to my pre-occupied brain, I received an unexpected and wholly-welcomed text message from a friend, another parent of a 2nd grader, who sent me a photo of Samantha, on the field trip, smiling, linked arm-in-arm with two of her male friends. It was so ordinary it was nearly startling. It could absolutely have been any three children posing for the shot, so natural, so comfortable. They were all obviously enjoying each other's company. And all reports back after the field trip were that Samantha had a great day, and had a lot of fun. When I got home I asked her what she saw, and she told me she saw hay stacks, and did a corn maze. Sure sounds like fun to me!
That evening I got her ready for trick-or-treating, dressed as a Lalaloopsy doll. If you have a little girl, you probably know what this is. If you have a boy, I can safely say this has absolutely nothing to do with Power Rangers, Thor, Minions, or whatever else boys are into these days. (Yeah, yeah, I know I'm about as totally clueless about boy stuff as you are about girl stuff...) I then dressed myself in my (sleeveless) angel costume, resurrected from last Saturday night's party I attended in New Jersey, thrilled that the weather was so unseasonably balmy. As the already murky, cloud-filled sky began to darken, we headed out, hoping to be back from our door-to-door mission for candy before the bulk of the other trick-or-treaters got to our own door, or before the rain started to fall.
Along the way we met up with a former classmate, a young man who has always taken Sammi under his wing, who has been a loyal friend since they met in Kindergarten. Actually, the very same boy who was posed in the photo texted to me that afternoon. He asked if Samantha could trick-or-treat with him, and we excitedly agreed, happy to see her enjoy time with a peer outside of school. We and the boy's mother stood back a bit, watching them run across lawns to each house, one after another. She fell behind, he called to her to catch up and waited patiently as she did. Her boot came untied, he quickly stooped to re-tie it. She balked at a tall stone staircase, he asked for and received extra candy from the homeowner to give to her, waiting for him at the bottom. He never treated her as anything less than a peer, a friend with whom he was obviously happy to spend time.
Funny that Sammi has no idea what that evening meant to us. And I'm sure the boy doesn't either. It was all just...so...ordinary.
By the way, I learned something this year...if you trick-or-treat with your kids and carry around a plastic cup, chances are you'll get some beer or wine in it along the way. Just sayin'...
(PS. I didn't even mention the way her classmates flocked to her at a birthday party I took her too on Saturday! Genuine happiness that she was there, and one girl even said she only came because she knew Samantha would be there. They stuck with her, played with her, included her. My faith in her future is strong.)
|Even Lalaloopsies like peanut butter toast for dinner.|