Earlier this summer we were walking back home from the end of our block. Kids were outside playing and Kayla stopped to play with a few girls who were jumping rope with a large rope. Each girl was on the other side of the street, the rope being long enough, and one taking turns jumping.
I stayed on the sidewalk watching, and waiting, for Kayla. She took her turn holding the rope, but she's not as coordinated as the other girls. She tried to swing her arm in time with the girl on the other end. They were patient with her and attempted a few jumps when they could.
I was standing by a vacant house when 3 cars pulled in to the driveway. I remember thinking to myself, "Wow someone is actually coming by to look at that house." The for sale sign had been in the yard for months.
A few days later there was a moving truck in that driveway.
On one of our walks we met 2 of the 3 girls from the family. A week or so later I met their mom.
The mom told me that the day they were looking at the house she saw the girls playing outside. She said she watched them play for about 30 minutes. (She and the realtor were outside for several minutes waiting for her husband to arrive). She continued to tell me that she watched the girls with Kayla; she watched how they treated her, how they were with her, how they included her, how all the kids on the street were just out playing.
She said, "After watching them with your daughter I said, yep, this is the house, the street where I want to live." She doesn't have a child with a disability, though her youngest is entering Kindergarten with an IEP for speech.
I wouldn't say that Kayla has any "BFFs" on our street, but there are a lot of elementary-aged kids on our street. For the most they are friendly and accepting and including. That's the type of community I want for Kayla. For both of my kids. To be able to go outside and play. To have kids come knock on the door and ask, "Can Kayla and Lucas come out and play?" (Although sometimes that knock on the door becomes a little irritating when it always happens 5 minutes after we get home from somewhere).
This is why making 'the decision' is so, so hard. These are the formative years; these are the years friendships are made and acceptance is borne. If we move in the later years she will have to start over in more ways than one - she would have to start over with her name on the state's waiver list. That would put her even further back for benefits when she becomes an adult.
Still don't know what to do, but for now I will smile at the story from an outsider, from a new family to the neighborhood, who watched from a distance and saw that my girl was indeed, included.