So as I was nursing Gunnar this early morning, I had a thought. (I many times do my best thinking and "mind blogging" in the wee hours of motherhood fun.) My thought was based on a memory I had from childhood.
I was 5 years old and at my friend, Stevie's birthday party. I was the only girl. Being 5, we were finally in the age of knowing that boys were different from girls. Well, the party was fine until all the little boys climbed up the ladder into Stevie's tree house. It was a great tree house- roomy, sturdy, way up high in the tall tree... what every kid would dream of. As the last boy climbed, I preceeded to have my turn up the ladder when the Birthday boy called down, "No girls allowed!"
Denied! Oh, how I cried!
Stevie's mom scolded the boys and demanded that they allow me to join the the treehouse fun, but by that point I was crying and embarrased for being a girl. I spent the rest of the party in the kitchen with Stevie's mom- on the ground, away from the slendorous view from that grand treehouse. Away from my friends. Why? Because of my difference.
As I sat nursing Gunnar, I thought about that darn treehouse and my Rojo. Will he ever get to climb a ladder to be in a treehouse? Will his peers notice his differences and not even allow him to join in? Will he spend his life the safety of the grown ups presence, away from kids his own age?
Bryan and I do all that we can to make Roa apart of the action around him. At the mall play area, we work up a sweat, crawling through tunnels and tiny kid spaces with Roa in tow so he can belong. At the Teddy Bear park, we lift his gait trainer onto the taller platforms when we notice Roa's longing gaze towards the "big kids" and their triumphant climb to the top. When another child wants to toss Roa a ball, we are his arms, with our hand over hand guidance throw the interactive play.
But, Bryan and I won't always be there to make sure Roa is allowed. That scares me most of all. Him, sitting alone, longing to be a part of the treehouse gang.
I moved on with my life after the treehouse denial. I spoke up for my differences, my gender, in games and play thereafter. I know we just need to prepare Roa to do the same.
Ahhh, acceptance. If only it would come easy for the kids like Roa that already go through so many battles.
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