Last Saturday was Katie, my eight year old’s softball game. We have games every Saturday. Seeing Katie play is always fun for our family. It’s exciting watching her out there being a part of a team. To see these young girls cheering each other on. And winning their games as a result of all their hard work, team spirit and the high level of support they give to each other so energetically. I adore listening to the silly little chants and cheers they scream from the dugout.
There is nothing but encouragement to do your best on her team.
I’m thankful my daughter has the chance to be part of something so great. It builds confidence and character.
While Katie was out in center field and in the batting box, Gary, my husband, was the official game statistician. I, on the other hand, was sitting in the stands cheering on the Bulldogs, along with her siblings, for yet another victory. Saturday’s score–3-0. These girls are seriously good. I’m always taken back at how truly athletic little girls can be. How fast they can pitch the ball. And despite how young they are, they truly do understand the complexities of this sport. It has been entertaining watching them learn the game so quickly.
During last Saturday’s game, there was a very special moment. While Katie was doing her thing in the out field, Megan sat by my side with her iPad. As soon as she took it out, there was a darling 4 year old girl at her side.
I never know what Megan is going to do in situations like this. Is she going to say, “NO!”? Is she going to poke her? Pull her hair? Or is she going to be nice and share? I will say, that Megan has a big heart and has no problem making friends. However, despite that reality, I must always be prepared for any and all eventualities.
This time around, my heart melted as I had the chance to witness my daughter with special needs share her iPad with a new found friend. She never said no. She never poked her or pulled her hair. Instead, she shared her most prized possession. Willingly. Gladly. Happily. And with a huge smile.
It was delightful hearing them laughing and talking. It warmed my heart listening to Megan enthusiastically suggest games for them to play together or magical Disney movies, like Tinkerbell, to watch while their sisters were at bat and fielding balls.
I think what I loved most about this interaction, is how this little girl Megan befriended, never looked at her any differently. She never asked a single question as to why Megan may look a little different. Why she talks a little different. She never got frustrated or impatient with her. Megan is very good about making friends everywhere we go. She’s a social butterfly and absolutely adores people. But. More often than not, kids will be kids and they will ask countless questions because they are genuinely curious. They want to know how old she is. Why she can’t talk like them…even though she’s 10. And on and on and on. I’ve never minded as it has given me the chance to educate them on what Down syndrome is~of course on a very basic level they are capable of understanding.
Children are truly sweet-natured. They are innocent and kind. Sometimes they just aren’t afraid to speak their minds and say what it is they’re thinking. Really, that’s okay. Yes, occasionally it hurts my heart to no end at how brutal and mean some kids can be. But guess what? At least, it has given me the chance to turn those hurtful moments into something positive and teach. To Enlighten. To emphasize the importance of being tolerant and accepting of others. I truly hope these children learn something and are a little more caring and compassionate. Thankfully, over the past ten years, rude, mean, hurtful encounters have been few and far between. I pray it continues.
Seeing Megan make a new friend, filled my heart with an unmeasurable amount of joy. To see her interact with a “typical” child the way she did, made me realize once again that Megan is truly no different than any other 10 year old girl. She loves to watch her sister play softball and is Katie’s biggest cheerleader. She adores girly movies. Listening to good music. Giggling and chit chatting like girls do so well. And to have a friend to do that with, one who didn’t even realize that Megan had special needs, was priceless.
Last night, we enjoyed yet another exciting Bulldogs softball game. Where Megan met yet another new friend as soon as she turned her iPad on! This time she won the heart of a twenty-something-year-old lady with special needs who was at the game cheering on her niece. Both Megan and she watched “Despicable Me” together during the game. These two, regardless of their age difference, laughed hysterically the entire game together. And for the record, let me just tell you, there is not a sweeter sound or more beautiful sight on the planet.
There was a moment last night during the game, where I realized that my life is going to be full of special moments like these forever. Megan’s passion for people is a gift. I know my life is going to be endlessly enriched by those who are living with special needs. Their souls are full of joy and happiness. And it’s contagious.
Whether it be Megan and her new found friends playing with one another so sweetly, or the sight and sounds of my eight year old out on the softball field playing her heart out, these special moments, are what life is all about.