Kiran is so social. He didn’t get this from me. He loves being around people, and I am pretty sure his love language is Quality Time. Nothing motivates him more than people. He loves to sing and watch and laugh and chat and cheer and play pattern games and just be held. And I love doing these things with him. And I love watching him have these special relationships with others.
A mom intentionally approached me at preschool pickup today to tell me her daughter loves playing with Kiran and talks about him all the time. This is the second mom (of a daughter – so the girls love him….) who has told me this. Kiran is developing friendships.
My heart was so achingly worried about this, and it is happening, just like that, for him. His charm and pure joy DOES translate to his peer group. He is well liked.
The school nurse informed us today Kiran is the best dressed kid in PreK. This made me laugh, almost out loud during the heart meeting tonight when I read it, because Kiran’s dad has said that numerous times to me (especially when he is the one who dresses Kiran for school, but that is beside the point). It is so fun to have other people just notice and appreciate things about Kiran (like his really healthy g-tube site, which she also mentioned…and how sweet he is, which she has mentioned just short of one billion times since school started).
Kiran got to be with other heart kids and their siblings tonight during the heart meeting. I have always wanted this for him, and I have never been comfortable trying it. It is SO hard for me in those types of situations, where the caregivers don’t know Kiran at all. I want so desperately to control the situation – at least to have a five minute pow-wow on Kiran’s need-to-knows. But really, he was fed and changed – he just needed to hang out. It helped that a lovely teen girl, sibling to another heart warrior, stepped in and got him out of his chair, interacted with him, and chatted with him once he was back in his chair. I stopped myself – after checking in on him twice early on – from checking on him again. I went an entire hour and ten minutes fighting the urge to check on him – I *might* have made a beeline for him the second the meeting was over – but hey, huge progress was made!
I starred one thing that I got on a handout this weekend at the Inclusive Ministry conference I attended. It was, quite fittingly, at the workshop I was most excited about attending: Straight Talks and Tips for Coping with Stress. Here is what I decided I needed to hear and commit to memory:
“Let go of the exclusive caregiving role.” Yes. This. And it doesn’t always mean only after I have trained someone for 100 hours and am convinced I can allow my son to be around them. Sometimes, it means trusting them. He’s not fragile. He loves people. And – as Jolene Philo very wisely told us during this workshop: It is building a support system FOR THEM.
Let that sink in.
This will never be easy for me. It may get easier as I flex the muscle and practice leaving Kiran in the care of others, but it will never be easy. Ever. But it will always be important, both for Kiran and for me. And I plan on flexing the muscle. I am going to start checking out the respite times both my church and my parents’ church offer. These will be great for giving Kiran socialization to other kids with special needs and will introduce him to all kinds of kids. And I will keep letting him be with the other heart kids – after all, they are just in the room next door.