Last April, Sarah Kate decided she wanted to do the Bookin’ for Books 1-mile Pun Run to benefit her school library. She trained by walking around our neighborhood with me, listening to her iPod Shuffle. The race was held again this past Saturday, and she wanted to do it again. She didn’t train this time, but I was hoping that several months of swimming would be enough to get her through it without too much trouble.
We gathered at the start line with a few of her friends, but I knew that once the race got underway we’d probably be on our own. When the field took off, Sarah Kate tried, as she always does, to go with it. This time, however, a girl I’ll call CW stayed with her. CW is one year older than Sarah Kate and her parents are friends of our family. I was touched that CW had decided, on her own, to walk with Sarah Kate. After a few minutes, the girl who lives next door to us, who was not far ahead, checked up and she and her mom joined us.
The three girls plodded on together. CW’s older brother ran by (it was an out-and-back course) and we all cheered him on. CW and Neighbor Girl continued on with Sarah Kate until the half-mile turnaround point, then they picked up the pace and headed to the finish. I was happy that they had stuck with us as long as they did, but knew that we still had a good distance to go.
We continued on our way with Neighbor Girl’s mom. It’s been in the 80s here for a couple of weeks and the Gulf Coast humidity is like nothing else. I was pleased that Sarah Kate didn’t seem to be as tired as she had the previous year by this point, in spite of the steam bath we were experiencing.
A few more minutes passed and I noticed a boy about Sarah Kate’s age coming toward us. He came right up to us and told Sarah Kate that he had already finished but wanted to come back to help her. To be honest, I wasn’t even sure who this boy was (Sarah Kate told me later that he is in her class – clearly, I am not very observant, and you know of my aversion to field trips and being room mom). The fact that an eight year old boy would do that completely amazed me.
Potential Future Son-in-Law stuck with Sarah Kate all the way to finish line, where CW and Neighbor Girl were also waiting to escort her in. Her time was 23:35 (last year she did it in 24:57).
When Sarah Kate was a baby, I used to worry that kids would make fun of her when she was older. Certainly, that has been the case on occasion, but more often than not her specialness has been embraced by her peers. Before she started school, I would have expected the girls to be the ones who would be most nurturing, but there have been a few boys along the way who’ve been her protectors, as well – at least one in her class in every grade so far.
It’s days like these that remind me not to worry so much about whether or not my children will fit in with their peers. They don’t have to fit in with everyone; they just need a few good friends to support them. It’s a lesson I’ve learned in my own life as a special needs mom. I have lots of acquaintances – good people that I know – but only a few close friends, because not everyone can relate to my non-typical life. But that’s okay, because I appreciate those friends all the more, and I have faith that my children will, like me, always have a few good friends.