On the second day of the school holidays, we were invited to a friend's house for an all day get-together. There were numerous other families there - some we know reasonably well, others less so. But everyone there had a child with a disability or special needs with them, as well as numerous siblings.
When we arrived, this was the amazing set up in the garden - both Jess and Anna were so excited!
There is something unique about getting together with other families who have children with a disability or special needs, and of course their amazing siblings. Despite the children having a wide variety of conditions and levels of disability/ability, everyone just "gets it".
It is a very comfortable environment to be in, knowing that everyone around you understands and no-one is going to judge you on anything (even letting your youngest child survive the day on crisps and cherry tomatoes as you are having too good a time to spoil it by having a fight. Or is that just me?!) We all had a great day.
Jess spent most of the day in the paddling pools. Her favourite was the biggest pool. Our friend had an inflatable seat, and we put Jess in it in the late afternoon and she literally just floated around the pool for over an hour.
Jess has always loved the water - swimming, baths, you name it, so this was always going to be something she would enjoy. However I think what she loved best about this was just how included she felt with the other kids. She was in the middle of the pool, surrounded by lots of other children who were splashing, screaming, coming down slides and bashing into her, using water pistols around her - and she loved every minute!
Everyone there was in awe of just how happy she was, and she was still laughing and grinning about it when I put her to bed that night. It really was one of her best days ever! I can't express how grateful I am to our friend for hosting such a special day, and to all the other families for making Jess feel so included.
The only problem is, it was only the second day of the holidays. I'm not sure how we are going to beat that in the next six weeks!