Thursday, November 09, 2006

How'd They Get So Smart?

For about a month Alex has been talking about a little girl - I'll call her Sidney - at his Mother's Day Out.

Just about every single time that I pick him up, he tells me all about Sidney...that she's not as old as he is, that she's his friend, that he plays with her. I couldn't figure out why a younger child would be in his three year old class, so I figured that Sidney must be on the playground at the same time, or maybe he saw her in chapel, or maybe they had music together. Regardless of how they met, it's been pretty clear that Alex adores her.

Yesterday Alex stayed an hour longer than normal at MDO so that I could get my hair cut, and when I walked in the extended care room, he was sitting at a table with three or four other kids having a snack. As soon as he saw me he hopped out of his seat, ran toward the door, and said, "Mama! I'm having a snack with Sidney! It's Sidney, Mama!"

And when I looked at the little girl who was sitting to the left of where Alex had been, I saw his precious blonde-haired friend named Sidney. What I didn't expect - because Alex hadn't told me - is that she has Down Syndrome. He hadn't told me, of course, because he never noticed. Why would he?

As Sidney watched Alex running toward me yesterday afternoon, the joy in her eyes took my breath away. I was blinking away tears before I ever knew what hit me.

While Alex and I gathered up his things and started walking toward the car, I asked him if he and Sidney had fun playing. He said, "Oh, yes ma'am, Mama! Sidney wanted to read Blue's Clues, and we watched a movie, and we had a good time, Mama!"

And as I buckled the little man in his seat, all I could think about was how grateful I am for Sidney. I'm so thankful that she's Alex's friend.

They're buddies. Plain and simple.

There are many things I love about children, but the tenderness of their little hearts - the way they look at people and at the world without judgment, without prejudice, without bias - it just blows me away.

Alex and Sidney, for me, are a reminder of what real friendship looks like.

And I thank them for the lesson.


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