Last weekend we had Caden's 9th bday party where he invited lots of his friends from school. I rightly assumed he wanted everyone to come but was pleasantly surprised when he specifically asked to make sure that James knew he was invited too. They have been in the same class for 2 years now and Caden has told me many times that James is one of his best friends.
See the thing is James has special needs and from an outsider like my self it seems just about impossible to communicate with him. I am always amazed at the thought that he is in the 3rd grade and learning right along with the other kids.
All the kids in the class, even in the school, do not blink an eye at James' difference. They see him for who he is. James.
I sent out an invitation to the class and later realized that their email was not part of this group class email. On the last possible day I ran into his dad at school and was able to personally invite them.
James' mother and I emailed back and forth and they looked forward to the chance to come play.
She warned me ahead of time that it may take some time for him to get used to the new place. I told Caden about this and he said "James will be fine, he knows me". Caden was right.
James and his mother arrived around the same time other kids were getting here and we all just hung around outside playing until James felt comfortable to venture inside. The weather was perfect that day for just that thing.
After a bit of time inside everyone went out to the back yard and played and James joined them. His mother was very happy that he was so comfortable being in the new place. I said maybe it felt like recess at school because all of his friends were here. They were able to stay for over an hour until things got a little overwhelming.
I later told Caden that I was very happy he is friends with James. I said he is very good with him even though you can't really communicate with him. Caden interrupted me and said "Oh you can communicate with him, it is just hard" I stopped and thought about that. I was so impressed with the matter of fact-ness to his statement. Caden has learned and understands that even though it may take an extra minute and even though it may not look the same he can have a friendship with someone who is different then him.
This picture here is James communicating with his helper what he is looking forward to this Christmas season. He was able to read what was written (after he choose what to say) The class was so wonderful and gave him their full attention.
I have thought about this family a ton over the past week and I love the lesson that is so intertwined to our families.
We as humans are all different. We grow up in different cultures, we grow up with different religious beliefs, we discipline different, we talk different, and we even communicate different. Being different does not always mean wrong it just means different. It means it might be a little harder to communicate but if we all took the time like Caden and so many of his class mates and paused for a moment to "listen" to a "James" in our life I am confident we will be blessed because of it.
James' words to not work like ours but there are so many people in this world who's words do not work like ours, they do not sound like ours but his heart is the same, his smile is the same and when we can look past the differences of those around us we might be surprised to see their heart too.
Do you have some things or some people in your life that you need to "learn" to communicate with?
All 5 of my kids are unique and I am having to continue to learn how to talk with them. If I stopped solely on the fact that they don't act like I do, I would miss out on so many amazing things. Not all the things are easy, some are flat out hard lessons to learn but well worth it.
So thank you Caden and thank you James for being friends and thank you LynnMarie for coming to our party, it was a joy. (thanks for the party pictures too)