I was thrilled when Sam received an invitation in the mail to a lazer tag birthday party. Oh yes, inclusion works. The invite was from a typical kid in a regular class. I was probably more excited than he was. I RSVP’d via the phone but had to leave a message on the mom’s machine. I emailed her several times about his Celiac disease and what we should get the birthday boy for a present. She even told me that she would like for Sam and her son to do some things together this summer! In my head I had the summer planned with Sam and his friend doing all kinds of fun boy stuff.
The big day arrived and I drove, I am not making this up, in one of the worst storms I have ever driven in. It was 14 miles from our house to the lazer tag place but that was OK because it was his first party given by a typical kid that he had been invited to. When I got out of the car I was soaked by the driving rain but I stayed focused because this is about Sam and his friends and not about me looking like a drowned rat. I went inside, met the party boy and he took me into the party room. “Hi, I’m Susan and this is Sam.” Blank stare and slight stuttering by the other mother. “Sam? Sam is already here” she said. “Oh, this is Sam Meyers,” I said. She replied, “That’s the Sam that is here.” It was then that I realized that the mom had sent the invitation to the wrong Sam Meyers. There are 2 at the school! I didn’t know whether to bolt or throw up. You see Sam has received 3 invitations to Bar Mitzvahs this year by mistake. Each time I called the mother and asked if they had the correct Meyers, found out they didn’t and sent the invitation back(those invitations are expensive). One time this year they kept my Sam after school for his father to pick him up except they had the wrong Sam Meyers. When he got the birthday invitation I thought I recognized the first name of the boy as someone that is Sam’s friend at school so I didn’t check it out. The mother was embarrassed but very gracious and kind. I offered to take Sam home but she insisted he stay. He did know some of the boys. I said I would go grab a cup of coffee and come back for him. I went to the car and did what any mother would do…I cried. Not big sobbing tears but the kind that over- flow from your eyes when your heart is broken for your child. I then called the Hunk but no answer. I then called my older daughter but no answer so I went to Starbucks and got a cup of coffee. The Hunk called back and so did Jenny. After talking to both of them I had an aha moment. This wasn’t about down syndrome. This was about being disappointed for my child. I guarantee that you have had or will have a moment like this. One of your kids isn’t picked for a team or asked to a dance or accepted to a college they really wanted or asked to a party that they know everyone is going to. As a mom your heart breaks for them because we want them never to be hurt or disappointed.
After that epiphany I said to myself, “Put on you big girl panties and get over it.” I drank my coffee and picked Sam up early from the party. He had played 2 games of lazer tag, met some new kids and had a great time. Yes inclusion works. If he hadn’t been included in regular classes he wouldn’t have known anyone there! One day I will laugh about this. You’d better believe that the next invitation that comes in the mail I will make sure it is for my Sam Meyers.
The picture at the top of the post is part of the teacher and aides gifts that I am putting together. You might recognize it from an earlier post about the kids going to a rock and mineral show. My bff photo-shop guru put him in Tahiti and added the text.