Wednesday, May 14, 2014

BFF's

One of my biggest fears for Ella, from the very beginning, was that she wouldn't have friends. I remember when we first moved here to Spokane, when Ella was 1 1/2 years old, watching 2 little girls in the apartment complex playing together, giggling and jumping rope. It broke my heart. Would Ella ever know what that felt like? Would other kids accept her for who she is or would they turn away from her because she is "different?"  Luckily Ella has had some good little friends in preschool, but they kind of out grew her.  The kids in her kindergarten class were really nice to Ella but she didn't have anyone that seemed particularly close to her. This year we moved onto 1st grade, (in our district Kindergarten is it's own school,) elementary school. It was a very scary time for me. We had to do some negotiating (to put it nicely) to get an acceptable, to me, amount of gen ed time.  But with time in the general education classroom comes the big fears, how the kids will treat her and how the parents of the "typical" kids will feel about a child with Down syndrome being in class with their kid.  We have been so incredibly happy with the way this school year has gone! Ella spends 50% of her time in the gen ed class and 50% of her time in the Extended Resource room. Both of her teachers are fabulous!!  The kids in the gen ed room have been amazing with Ella! The gen ed teacher does a wonderful job at having a classroom that truly is inclusive, and I think she has done a great job of fostering friendships.

I went into the school yesterday to pick up Hunter and Ella. On Tuesdays Ella is dismissed from music and her gen ed teacher comes to pick up the kids and always stops to tell me how Ella's day went.  She told me that Cayce (a little girl in Ella's class) brought Ella a necklace and a picture and how sweet it was when she gave it to Ella.  The bell rang and out came Ella, she ran up to me and excitedly showed me her necklace. It's a Best Friend necklace, the kind where one person has the "Best" half and the other has the "Friends" half.  It was all I could do to not break down and cry right there at the front door of the school.  Seriously melt my heart!!!  I'm not sure how to say what this represents to me.  I'm sure a lot of people will think it's silly that I am so excited about a necklace. But it's not just about the necklace. It's about my child having a real connection with another child.  It's about another little girl thinking about my Ella outside of the classroom. It's about another parent allowing her child to have a friendship with a little girl with Down syndrome.  It's about the pure love and excitement that shows on Ella's face when she wears  her necklace and talks about her FRIEND Cayce!!

I posted this picture of Ella wearing her necklace and holding her picture yesterday on Facebook. The mom of the other little girl found me through a mutual friend.  She sent me a private message....

I just wanted you to know what a blessing it has been to watch this little friendship Cayce ADORES Ella .

To which I wrote her back expressing my feelings, and she responded with...

I am so thankful for Ella ! Cayce has really taken to her and she tells her sister all about her .

Oh and her gen ed teacher left this comment...

Their interaction the other morning will definitely be one of the highlights of my teaching career! I love both those girls and have no doubt this is just the beginning of a lifetime of sincere and quality friendships for Ella.

I am one happy mama.



3 comments:

amber malmberg said...

I get it. I hope for that for my little Royce. I know it's something you will treasure for the rest of your life!

Meredith said...

Such a beautiful story and a gorgeous girl! I'm so moved and I know my husband will be too when I show him your post. New reader here, new mom too! I hope our baby girl grows up to be like Ella.

Nelson Baa said...

I wish happy and long term friendship to both Ella and Cayce. Cute Best Friend necklace. Explore more learning activities in http://www.kidsfront.com/exploration.html