Where each day's colors blend to become "My Stained Glass Life"

Posts tagged ‘Bullying’

My New Walking Partner

“Since 1995, Best Buddies High Schools has paired students with intellectual and developmental disabilities in one-to-one friendships with high school students. In the past, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities have not had the opportunity to have friends outside of their own special education classroom. By introducing Best Buddies into public and private high schools, participants are crossing the invisible line that too often separates those with disabilities from those without.”  www.bestbuddieswisconsin.org

On Saturday, May 19th, we participated in the Best Buddies Friendship Walk in Delafield at Lapham Peak State Park.  It was a gorgeous day, 80 degrees, sunny, and breezy.  This was our first walk as a family.  Queenie was our Team Captain, raising $150 in pledges towards the event.  We had five members in our team.  We have decided that next year, we are going to try to have the largest team there!  The walk was 2.5 miles, but the pace was easy going and definitely family friendly!

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Lulu Grace was so excited to be walking with us!  She got all jazzy, as you can see from the picture!  She wanted to wear her striped knee highs, and I have learned with Lulu that some things just aren’t worth the fight.  Most days, it’s impossible to get socks on her feet, so I wasn’t going to argue about which socks she wore!  There were a lot of high school aged girls who participated, and they were dressed in capes and crazy outfits.  Lulu fit right in!Image

We ran into a couple of people we have met before.  We saw Brittany, a young woman who attended the pageant last year with her best buddy!  Queenie got her picture taken with the two of them at registration, and it was her facebook profile photo for a long time!  We also ran into a young man named Max who attends our support group meetings.  He is a budding photographer, and was asked to volunteer to take photos for the event!  We were so proud of him.  He did a great job!Image

There was no convincing Bass to come with us.  I was disappointed, especially once we got there.  The people that were there were so accepting, friendly, and open.  It is a community of people that I look forward to being more involved with.  It is rare that you find people who don’t question or look twice, who understand when Lulu didn’t want to talk or was upset when things were a little chaotic.  I listened in on some of the conversations that the ‘buddies’ had along the walk, and I was so touched by the genuine friendships that they have formed.  We were surrounded by t-shirts that said, ‘Be a Buddy, Not A Bully,” and “See the Ability in Disability.”  We were surrounded by people whose children were the target of bullying, whose children struggle with being seen for something other than their disability.  It was refreshing to be able to be in our own skin and be comfortable, because we were surrounded by people who get it!

Lulu Grace and Jon stopped along the walk to look at the butterfly garden.  I crossed the finish line and waited, and waited!  I was starting to think about heading back to find them, when I see Lulu’s shining face, bright red from her efforts.  She saw the finish line and started running!  It was such a cute moment.  She was incredibly proud of herself.  She wore her Best Buddies t-shirt to school yesterday, and was sure to tell everyone about her accomplishment.  I’m so proud of her!  And I think I may have a new walking partner!  🙂

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Every puppy should have a boy!

Well, the evening is winding down.  I’m exhausted, but excited for a busy day tomorrow.  Bass and Queenie are both beginning new adventures tomorrow – becoming entrepreneuers!  Bass has been developing his own dog treat company since November.  He is proud of it.  He has worked hard to develop a marketing plan, tested products, figured out the numbers for how much it takes to produce, how much he needs to sell his product for.  His next step is creating a website.  Tomorrow, however, he is going to become a salesman!

This all seems exciting and cool for a 13 year old boy, but the story behind getting to this point has been filled with lots of ups and downs!  Bass has recently made a transition to the high school after years of bullying at his middle school.  Some of this may been a misperception on his part due to his lack of social understanding at times, but a lot of it really was just mean kids being mean!  It has been so tough to see Bass struggle, have his heart broken and his ego shattered.  Enough was enough this past fall, and we finally pulled Bass out of school all together!  This was a difficult decision, but looking back it is a decision I have NO regrets about!

The time that he spent out of school helped us refocus on his gifts and talents, his interests, and allowed us to begin to rebuild his self esteem and our relationship with him.  We have had a rough couple of years with med changes, mood swings, and ‘being a teenager.’  There were certainly days when he and I just did NOT like each other!  And there were days when I could see my little 5 year old boy again, full of questions and wanting to discover!  He has begun to discover that Asperger’s makes some things different for him, and that’s okay!  He is realizing that everyone struggles with something – and Asperger’s is HIS thing.  He has begun to find ways to take a step back and calm down when he needs to.  He has begun to get the fight or flight response under control.  His anxiety is lower.  He has discovered music and how powerful it is.  He has found that he is a talented bass player and is now interested in taking up guitar.  He has found that animals soothe and calm him.  He is really just such an amazing kid!

I know that we have lots of days ahead that are not always going to be fun, but tomorrow I get to sit back and enjoy the hard work that he and I have put in to get this point.  To put it in perspective, two years ago his anxiety was so high that I could not get him to leave the house!  I’m very thankful that his passions have allowed us a way in, a way to get some of life’s lessons through to him, and a safe way for him to show his compassion and love!  Now he wants to go out to the farmer’s market and talk to people about one of his passions – dogs!  Although, I think he might be more interested in talking to the dogs attached to the people!  Lulu once said when she was very small, “Mom, look at that dog taking their human for a walk.”  I think that’s the way Bass sees the world!  Every puppy should have a boy!