Kiran had his first field trip – and first ride on a school bus – on Monday. I got to chaperone, so I got to be with him while he had his new experiences. It was the first time he’s ever been on a wheelchair lift to get into a vehicle, and the first time he has been transported in his wheelchair in a vehicle.
In true Kiran fashion, he was very stoic at first, but he decided he likes the bus. He was looking out the window a lot, and smiling up at his mama a lot.
The field trip was to one of our favorite places: The WDM library! We go frequently for story times, to check out books, or to play in the kids’ area. The preschoolers got a special story time, complete with bubbles, and we got to tour the downstairs of the library, including the back room where we got to see the book sorting machine in action! (I didn’t even know this machine existed – even *I* learned something on the preschool field trip!)
It was a great trip. Kiran and I were both worn out (Preschool teachers are saints, and he has some really excellent ones).
Today, we got to experience another first. One I have been hoping for but was unsure would come: Kiran had his first playdate with a friend from school. She has been a special friend to Kiran from the beginning and is definitely one of his favorites to play with at school. We met her and her mom at the new children’s museum space.
I feel like I am learning so much with these firsts. I am learning more about inclusion and what that looks like. I am learning what friendship looks like for Kiran. I am learning that sometimes my own assumptions or fears can get in the way. I am learning to trust people’s intentions, and trust that others, too, can value Kiran, just as he is.
This friend certainly does. I could cry thinking about how sweet she was with him today. She did hand-over-hand with him with instruments, showing how to play each one and giving him a turn. She performed puppet shows for him, which he absolutely loved. She made “sandwiches” at one point, serving Kiran last with the sentiment “Save the best for last!” She was just attentive and helpful and sweet, and she really values Kiran.
The friendship looks different – of course it does – but it’s still friendship.
Honestly, I didn’t know what it would look like or be like, for Kiran. But I am learning too. I am learning from his amazing teachers, his therapists, the volunteers and workers at Courage League, his classmates…
These are firsts for me, too. And I’m paying close attention.