Tonight was a great night. Jason and I took the kids to dinner at one of our favorite places - the Joe's Crab Shack by our house has this awesome pirate ship playground where the kids can run and play while we relax and eat. The funniest part is that I hate seafood, however I go there at least twice a month because it's like free babysitting.
While we were there we randomly ran into some friends of ours who, like us, have three kids ages five and under... pretty uncommon nowadays. I love spending time with them because they aren't even slightly phased when my crazy children and run around screaming. It's almost easier when all six of the kids are together because they just entertain each other.
But the best part was when my friend's little boy, who is the same age as JD, came up and gave JD a BIG HUG when they saw each other. JD smiled from ear to ear and it made my heart melt. Watching JD grow up and make his own little friends just makes me so thankful for the innocence of little children. They don't see his autism, they just see another friend. That is the true definition of inclusion.
When I grew up I lived in a bubble - I wasn't really exposed to anyone different than myself or my family. We were standard upper-middle class WASPs (White, Anglo-Saxon Protestants). I never realized that there were so many different people in the world with so many wonderful things to learn from.
As a parent of three children, one having a disability, one of the goals I strive to do each day is teach my children that there are so many amazing, different people in the world. People may look different, speak in different languages, have different abilities, but at the end of the day I want my children to know that everyone is the same inside - and that everyone should be loved and respected.
So to my friend's little boy... you'll never know how much that hug meant to me, it's makes me so happy to know that you're JD's friend. It's the little things that mean so much! :)