Last week I took a blogging vaca because my family and I went to the beach for the Spring Break holiday. I sank into lazy mode pretty quick and spent my week reading, sunning, and playing in the sand. (I love playing in the sand more than my boys do. Unfortunately, their love is tearing down sand creations that I build.)
Jake isn’t a natural lover of the sand and because I’ve got so many facts that cloud my mind, part of me wonders if it’s a sensory issue. Or, maybe it’s as simple as my child doesn’t like the way sand feels and also knows he’s deathly allergic to everything out there in that great big sea.
On the first day at the beach when Jake was begging to go back to the pool, I told my husband that all Jake needed was a friend to show him the ropes. His older brothers were busy playing big boy games like frisbee, football, baseball, and swimming in the ocean. While Jake does like to play with his brothers, they don’t necessarily reciprocate his enthusiasm. I’m sure you can see where the problem arises.
God heard my prayers because Day #2, sweet little Gabe showed up … a second grader with a heart of gold who had the best sand bucket in the world. After Jake spent about an hour harmoniously playing with him, I complimented his mother on how good her son was with mine. Here’s what made Gabe such a special, compassionate, and patient friend for my baby …
- His dad had a stuttering problem all through school, but finally beat it.
- Now his four-year-old sister has a stuttering problem.
- The babysitter that was traveling with them was a special education teacher in an inclusion classroom.
A special family and a special friend.
Jake would spend the rest of the week anxiously awaiting Gabe’s arrival at the beach so that they could spend hours building volcanos in the sand and his family even invited Jake over one afternoon to have a water balloon fight outside their condo. This story makes my heart smile. It also remedied the hurt I had felt from some girl bullies Jake stumbled across at the Chick-fil-A playground the week before we left for the beach.
I had to rescue my Little Man as tears poured out of his eyes and he screamed repeatedly, “Yes! My is four! My no baby!” The lead bully was in turn relentlessly arguing back, “No! You’re not four! You’re only two! You talk and look like a baby!” Even when I told the Mean Girl that he was in fact four, she still calmly and confidently looked at me, hands on hips, and flat-out said I was wrong. To my face! You know you’ve got a bad bully on your hands when they also bully the parent.
I left the restaurant shaken that day and unsure of how to handle situations like these. Our children are different and friendships do not always come easy. They are quiet, afraid, and not confident with their voices. Thank God for sweet angels like Gabe.