T was invited to a friend's birthday party this past weekend. These invites are few and far between in our life, so I was pleased to take him…although I experienced a little trepidation because they are usually crowded, over stimulating experiences for him. Sometimes I wonder if it really is fun for him to go or if it is just something that I want for him. This birthday party was different.
This child's family had rented an indoor sport facility that had 3 large bounce houses ready to go. It combined "typpies" (typically developing children) and some fellow classmates from the Verbal Behavior clinic. The party was two hours long and included no official organized events - just playing in the bounce houses and eating pizza & cupcakes. T LOVES bounce houses of all sorts, and this day he even climbed in and around a big inflatable that had hoops to crawl through, poles to dodge and a slide to climb up and slide down. He had a terrific time on this, and even giggled when a little girl saw that he was taking his time on the top of the slide and started playfully pulling his leg to get him to come down. Let me emphasize that…laughing
with a peer. He had a huge smile on his face as he came sliding down.
Some of the therapists from the Verbal Behavior clinic also came. It was so wonderful to see one particular former therapist of T's play with him on her own time (once again, I am so tremendously moved and thankful for these incredible people in his life). When it was time for pizza, I went into my usual routine of getting T's food for him and having him sit with me. This therapist joined us at the table just in time for me to see that all the other kids were sitting together at little tables in their own little kids' area. So I asked T: "Do you want to eat here, or with the other kids?" He replied: "I want kids."
He wanted kids!!!! He chose to eat with other kids!!!! So he did. Word spread quickly among the therapists that he had chosen to eat with the other kids, and while they all recognized that this was tremendously cool, they confessed they were a little bummed that they weren't cool enough to hang out with. I grinned in acknowledgement, knowing that if we all do our jobs correctly, he will eventually "break our hearts" by not needing us anymore. And that's the goal – that's what we're striving for.
My little guy turns 8 in two days. Time is going so quickly. I can honestly say that I'm enjoying this time in our lives together so much right now…I don't want it to change, I want him to stay little and happy and loving his mommy…and yet again, I know that if I do my job correctly, he won't need me as much and I'll need to take my joy by watching him soar. And that is my prayer.
After lunch, he went back to playing. He grabbed a basketball, dribbled the ball with two hands while walking, and tried shooting some baskets into a regulation basketball hoop.
I believe he'll make those shots someday.