Yesterday was a full one. And it was all about Ability Awareness, watching kids with differing abilities enjoy a dance and socialize, and being an Ally for Inclusion.
I tagged along with another activist mom of a kiddo with special needs to the Allies for Inclusion exhibit about an hour away from here.
Please check it out here. You won’t be sorry. St. Louis University has developed this powerful exhibit and it is traveling the country.
And it was so much more than we expected. So very much more. And it is coming to our high school because of the amazing big brother of the most enthusiastic , lover of life kiddo with Autism. This takes courage and tenacity. This means getting school administrators on board and motivated to do their part. Big Bro is a special kind of kid, no doubt. Bringing this exhibit to the first high school ever to host it, is nothing short of heroic.
The dance was a joy. The student group hosting it did an exemplary job of decorating and attending. More importantly, they interacted enthusiastically with the attendees. They worked on overcoming those awkward feelings you have when you don’t quite know what to expect. Of course Drawman and his lovely date attended and danced the entire 2 hours. Movieman and his lovely girlfriend attended and had a blast making new friends and strengthening the friendships they have already established with peers with special needs. I was proud.
I stood and watched with other moms of attendees and I was all over the map emotionally. Proud, for sure. Joyous. Hard not to be when your kid is having so much fun and interacting with others, being included. But there is always a nagging sadness lurking. That there has to be a ‘special’ homecoming dance for our kids makes me sad. Don’t get me wrong. I am grateful. It meets their needs, they have a blast. As a mom, it is another reminder that my kid is not naturally included in the world of school.
I did the thing I so don’t want to keep doing. I watched Movieman, who although he looks more typical than his younger brother, he certainly is not part of the collective typical peer group. He is awkward. He is not included. He is marginalized and while he was at the dance as an ally for inclusion, he was not included by the other allies. It’s complicated and something I have yet to come to terms with. My heart hurts. I cry about it in private. A lot. It’s grief.
I walk away from these events loving my peeps, my fellow warrior moms more than I can express. We hold each other up, we fly together when we are happy. We cry together when life for our kids sucks. We shake our fists in anger and stomp our feet at injustices.
And we take action.
While I intentionally keep from disclosing too much about my location, I am going to include this today. I hope you will consider donating to this cause and if this exhibit comes your way, please attend. It won’t take long.
You will be moved and you will leave a true ally for inclusion.