There was nothing more enjoyable than watching my daughter a dear friend's birthday party the other day. Watching her handle herself and just be herself. Not worrying about what people would think about her hand flapping or conversations with herself. In fact, the other little girls at her craft table thought the way Little Miss made her craft have a conversation was pretty cool. So they started talking to their crafts. When it came time to eat cupcakes, we discovered that Little Miss wasn't the only one who didn't like sprinkles. It was about having fun. And she did just that.
Most of us can remember a time when we were children, the sheer joy of being invited to a birthday party . It meant that there was at least someone who liked you enough to want you there to help them celebrate their special day. Sometimes it often feels like a popularity contest. Now to a lot of us, not getting invited to a party is no big deal. But for a socially awkward person, who doesn't quite understand why, it can be hurtful.
Just as I have a son that loves balloons, I have a daughter that lives for birthdays. Hers, mine, her siblings.. doesn't matter. Celebrating birthdays is her thing. She is the little girl that the day after her birthday is already planning her next. Its not a vanity thing for her.. Its the sheer joy of being around people who have come to help celebrate something. Its one of the few things that gets her amped up.
For her it doesn't have to be much, but to feel included. I can tell when I pick her up from school the days she has an invite to a party in her backpack.. As she is screaming across the street most times " I GOT INVITED!!!" Or when we get an evite to something, she is over the moon with delight.
Now I am not saying that everyone needs to be invited to things. There are just sometimes where it isn't going work. I get that. But I think it does hurt her when people who she thinks are friends talk about the parties they have all been to and yet again she is left out. I also understand that my child is unique. She is one of a kind, Little Miss. And like everyone, she has her quirks. I get that some would see her hand flapping as disruptive or that she sometimes has conversations with herself, personally we don't find it disruptive,as its just part of who she is. Just like your child might not like the sprinkles on a cupcake or a certain topping on a pizza.But regardless, she simply enjoys being part of a celebration.
She doesn't ask for much. But the one things that makes her feel good about herself is that she is accepted. That she is welcomed. And that she has people who will love or like her for who she is. They can overlook the things that make her different. See what we see, a girl that simply enjoys being around people who accept her.
I guess just like everything else, I wish people would see past the differences. That all they saw was this little girl who is so desperate for friends that treat her right. As I watch her grow and mature, I see that people aren't always accepting of her quirks. That sometimes she is overlooked. When all you want to do as a parent is just state, what your children are missing out on, when you pass her off. You miss out on a kindhearted child. She is funny and loves a good laugh. She loves to sing and dance, even when she doesn't know the steps or the words to the songs. She is also just a little girl who thinks birthdays should be celebrated every day.
For children with Autism and other developmental difficulties, don't count them out because you are afraid of how they will act. Count them in as children that are just children who want to be part of something. Experience what every other child is experiences. I know that inviting a child with special needs might require a little extra work. But think about it this way, in order for us parents to provide our children with the same amount of enjoyment over a party, we still have to plan for them as well as the children that come our birthday parties. We accommodate for everyone that is invited.
So that all being said.
The Little Girl that absolutely believes that every day should be celebrated,with glitter, balloons, cake, who doesn't care if it is your birthday or not, she believes that you should be celebrated and accepted. There are days where I wish the rest of the world could see and understand her spirit.