To My Daughters Very First Friend,
Today my daughters developmental assistant told me that Hayden had made a new friend today; that friend was you.
I was told that you had been curiously eyeballing Hayden for the last few days of preschool and that you made the decision to come over and introduce yourself. I’m sorry if you had a hard time understanding why she didn’t say hello back, or that she didn’t make eye contact with you; those are things that are difficult for her right now. From what I was told though, you didn’t seem to mind. I was told that you enjoyed sitting next to her during class and enjoyed her secret stash of Peppa Pig books that I packed for her to look at to keep calm during circle time. It warms my heart to know that you enjoy Peppa Pig just as much as she does.
I really have been stressing all summer about putting Hayden in a typical preschool program. I stressed over the notion that others wouldn’t be very accepting of her differences. My heart ached as I sat through the parental orientation, listening to everything that the teachers were planning on teaching the class this year. I cried when I left that orientation thinking that Hayden might feel so left out because she most likely wouldn’t be able to keep up with her class mates. As I’m sure you know, Hayden doesn’t speak and currently is quite limited in her communication. I feared the loneliness that she might experience as she enters into the school system. As much fear as I have though, I know that it is important for Hayden to gain as much education and interaction with other children as is possible, despite some days where all I want to do is keep her safe in the bubble that is my comfort zone.
As a mom I know how easy it is to say that I am and will always be my child’s best friend, their confidant. I think Mom’s say things like that as a way to comfort themselves, to know that their child will always have a friend. To be honest with you, the notion that other kids might not want to be Hayden’s friend has been weighing on my heart since the day the doctor told us that she is and will always be different. I worry about other kids not understanding her, about her not getting invited to other kids birthday parties (even though the rest of the class would be invited), and my heart sank to think that no one might show up at her birthday party.
When I heard that you were able to see past her differences, that she doesn’t talk, the occasional arm flapping and her constant desire to climb everything in sight, that you were able to just see another little girl to play with…. well that truly made my day. To say I didn’t cry tears of joy and relief on the drive home would be a lie. I wanted to thank you for embracing my daughters differences and including her in the childhood experience of making friends. I truly hope and pray that others can learn from your example and grow up being more accepting of other peoples differences. You are a beautiful little soul and I’m truly honored to know that you are my daughters very first friend!