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  • Writer's pictureRachelle Jervis

Day 164

Updated: Jun 26, 2019



Constance started at Cherry Preschool in their 18-month parent-and-child class. To say that I was anxious about her success in the classroom was a wild understatement. She had been kicked out of another community preschool. Innumerable calls to hundreds of other preschools told me that Cherry was a special place with a unique program. If Constance couldn’t hang in here, we had a serious problem.


Constance’s expressive language challenges made forging friendships a challenge. Still, I saw, on more than on occasion, children going out of their way to include her. She sat with other children, played with other children, and waited in line just like all the other children. What a miracle! Even now, I think of her teachers and aides and tear up at how grateful I am for them.


In an attempt to assist Constance in making friends, I invited all of her classmates to a big birthday party for her each year she was at Cherry. I also invited all of our friends with kids and her immediate family. When it comes to a party, more is typically, more. I was always the most excited when Constance received reciprocal birthday or playdate invitations.


Friendships mean acceptance and total inclusion. I never brought into the idea that because Constance wasn’t typically developing that she didn’t deserve all the wonders of childhood: school, friends, parties, learning, and love.


My other major motivation for having a big annual birthday party was that I wanted Constance to have as wonderful a childhood as possible. I wanted her life to be filled with joyful, wondrous memories.


Constance’s birthday was on August 27th. It is a difficult time to have a party with back to school and vacations. As a result, I would always do it a little early or a little late to try and make it possible for people to attend.


One year, we had a party at Hidden Creek Aqua Park. To ensure that all of the kids could participate in the birthday regardless of their abilities, I brought thirty children’s musical instruments. The kids played, dance, and sung their way through the song. At that age, Constance was unable to sing or even speak more than a few words, so she played a musical instrument along too. I ordered her favorite food: pizza. No one cried and no one got sunburn. It was a blissfully happy day.

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