Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Play Date

Matthew was about 18 months old.  It was one of those nights where the overwhelming thoughts would not stop entering my mind.  He was getting the "full service" from early intervention with physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and special education services all 2 - 3 times per week.  I was confused, scared, and looking for answers.  Would my boy ever walk?  Talk?  But what was on my mind that night most of all was, if Matthew never learned to talk, how would he ever make friends.

It was time for a complete melt down.  I remember sitting in my kitchen telling my mom through my tears and into her drenched shoulder, "he will never have any friends."  I was picturing my boy lonely and isolated forever.  My mom's response was, "there will be some very special people out there who will want to be his friend".  These words comforted me in the moment, but I could not really imagine it.

Fast-forward about 7 years.  Last month.  Matthew really wanted to have a play date with his classmate Ava.  I have met Ava's mom before so I knew she was really approachable and has always been respectful and understanding towards Matthew.  So, I do it, I send an email asking if Ava would like to play with Matthew sometime at our house.  I give about 10 ways for Ava to "get out" of the play date in my email.  Ava's mom calls me back to say how excited her daughter would be to play with Matthew.  Before I know it, we have a play date set up.  Ava will even take the special needs van home with Matthew!

The kids arrive home, and Matthew is so happy, so proud to have a play date.  He immediately has to introduce Ava to our neighbor.  Ava (who is a beautiful, smiley, flexible, and kind 8 year old) goes with the flow of Matthew's afternoon routine.  She knows how much he enjoys rearranging garbage and recycling cans, and rolls the cans up and down the neighbor's driveway with him in the cold for 25 minutes!  

They come inside to have a snack and continue playing, and I realize, Ava really likes Matthew for who he is.  Ava is one of the very special people that my mom told me about that night in my kitchen 7 years ago.