I’ve been wanting to blog something so meaningful to me for a while. Evie doesn’t bring home pictures she has drawn from school. She doesn’t tell me about her day. But about a month ago, this card from Maddie came home in Evie’s folder. Call me sentimental but I will cherish this until the day I die.
I’ve underestimated my child and I’ve underestimated her peers. I’ve never been so beautifully and wonderfully wrong in all of my life.
You see, we love Evie so very much. But I was too afraid to hope that her young classmates would be able to see past her disabilities. I couldn’t imagine them putting in an effort to try to connect with Evie when Evie connects in a way that is so foreign to most.
Evie can’t keep up physically. She doesn’t speak. She rarely makes eye contact. She’s been known to steal food from peers. And she occasionally bites. That’s a lot to swallow for a five year old. But these kids reach out to my daughter. They reach across all of the differences and the obstacles and they find a way to be a friend to my daughter.
And it is not just Maddie. I’ve been dropping Evie off at school for a little while now. Almost everyday, a young girl named Emily meets Evie. Her eyes honest to goodness light up when she sees Evelyn. My eyes honest to goodness fill up with tears and I get that gulpy-holding back the cry feeling in my throat. Yes, every day I get a little heart lift from seeing this exchange. And every day I fight the urge to hug Emily and cover her face in my tears and kisses. This would be frowned upon by admin and Emily alike, I would venture to guess.
I’m learning to expect the very best there is from children. Evie’s friendships give me hope for her future, they give me hope for our family, and in a really sappy maybe-overreaching-but-I-don’t-think-so way, they give me hope for humanity. Her friendships remind me to look for the best in people and to try to find common ground–even if they bite. We can still love people that do things that we don’t like–stealing snacks or otherwise. Okay, don’t worry. Quashing my urge to go all peace monger on you and will just say that we all could learn a lot from kindergarten kids.