For a while now, our family has been part of a play group that is for our kids with special needs and their siblings. We’ve been going for about 8 months or so. It’s always on the second Sunday of the month, thus our name: Second Sunday Play Group. It is this group that is always there for us, and we for them. It is this group of folks who have made us realize that you can’t bury your head in the sand and hope all of your kids’ issues will just go away. And it is this group that has shown us that no matter what, there is always something for which to be thankful.
We have so much fun! Once, when Nicole’s little girl asked Nicole to take her to France, we decided we would take all of the kids to France. We pretended to go to France with passports, french food, pictures of the French countryside, The Eifel Tower, and mustaches and berets for all. It was a blast! Then, another time, we traveled to Ireland (for St. Paddy’s Day, of course!). We’ve been to Russia (complete with White Russians for the parents), and we’ve had Mexican food day, too. Ok, you know we had Margaritas for that excursion. We enjoy our time together.
It helps all of us to have a bond with other folks who, while they may not be in exactly the same boat, they are at least in the same lake as we are. They get us. No one gets upset if one family can’t make it for some reason or another. We pull together when one of the families needs us, and we listen to each other. We get it. We know what it’s like. We aren’t all under the same diagnoses, and that’s just fine. But we know what the other families are going through and we try to help as much as we can. For me, personally, it has helped me to make really great, lifelong friends. These women are just what I needed. Their senses of humor, loving hugs, and sarcasm has helped me in so many ways.
We have gone to camp together. We play modified baseball, flag football, soccer, and basketball together. We’ve planned moms’ nights out. We’ve babysat for one another. We’ve celebrated birthdays, holidays, and every days. These people are the family we’ve chosen.
We are a motley crew, and that’s part of the fun of it. The siblings of the kids with special needs are growing up to see that KWSN are just like they are. They want to play and have fun. They laugh, and run around, and if they can’t run around, the roll around. They may not speak like neurotypical kids do, but they communicate in their own way. It’s teaching our neurotypical kids that people with special needs have feelings just like they do. Everyone is included as much as they can and want to be.
If you don’t have a play group like this in your area, perhaps you could start one. We started ours by picking on family to host the first time and we’ve rotated houses a couple of times but it usually ends up being at one specific family’s home. It works better for them that way. But you and your group will figure out what works best for your play group. Maybe you always have it on a specific date, or day of the month/week, or maybe you only have it every other month. You can make it work. Find a couple of other families like yours that you want to play date with, and then word of mouth will grow your play group. That’s what happened with ours!
It’s so healthy to have friends who are going through what you’re going through; people who understand you and can bond with you. The bond my family has with the crew from our play group is wonderful! We love those families and every week, we meet someone new. We’ve made great friends through our group. I wish everyone had a play group like ours. So while it’s not Wishful Wednesday, it is definitely Thankful Thursday. And for these people in our lives, I’m very thankful!