Dear Noa, This is a lesson about Special Needs and Love.
You were born in September of 2019 before we knew that a Pandemic was looming just around the bend. What a strange time to be an infant. It took a long time for you to meet Aunty Jess. Aunty Jess is different from anybody you have encountered.
Your Aunt has Special Needs
Yes, your Aunt has special needs or whatever term you will use one day, but that is not how we think of Jess. I hope you will see through the wheelchair and differences to embrace the Jessica that Papa and I cherish. I hope you see all that you have in common.
As your Nana, I don’t blame you. As Jessica’s Mom, it hurts.
The first time you met Aunty Jess, you were afraid. Jessica is in a wheelchair and doesn’t use words to communicate. All you saw were your differences. As your Nana, I don’t blame you. As Jessica’s Mom, it hurts.
But we worked together to turn that around, and as soon as you were able to see your Aunty Jess more frequently, I made it my mission for you to engage and appreciate the joys of Jessica.
The first commonality was the pleasure of sharing an ice cream sandwich at a Little League game. Eating ice cream is something that both of you have in common with me!
Music the Universal Language
Noa, You cannot say Aunt or Jess, but you ask me about her all the time. Yes, you found another commonality with your Aunt, and it is through music. Music is the universal language and my daughter and granddaughter both speak the same dialect!
If you have read my blogs about Jessica, you already know that Jess communicates through music and constantly has a tune to share with others.
Noa, you picked up on that, and now you ask me as only you can about Jess. You start singing her tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, and I say, “Are you talking about Aunty Jess, and you gleefully say Yes!”
My heart is soaring; you are no longer weary and nervous. Did Jess know that you were hesitant? I am not sure, and I hope not. Or perhaps Jess knew and decided that singing to you was going to be the magic. We created our own family disability awareness. I hope you will take this knowledge and develop kindness and empathy for other people you will meet.
My oldest daughter and my youngest grandchild have found their connection. Even on facetime! Noa hummed a few bars of twinkle and I asked if she wanted to speak to Aunty Jess, once again Noa give a hearty, “Yes!”
Dear Noa, Aunty Jess Taught You about Special Needs and Love
Moral of the story for other families. Try to embrace the similarities between your child with special needs and new family members and friends.
We all have something that we can cherish together.
Dear Noa, my heart is full.
Love Nana Vickie
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13 thoughts on “Dear Noa, A Nana Lesson about Special Needs and Love”
I definitely understand your feelings about Noa’s initial response to Jessica. My niece was born in September of 2019 too and she and her family visited me earlier this month. I am an adult but I do have multiple disabilities (blindness, mild CP, autism). My niece at one point said “No aunty Astrid not nice”, even though she immediately took to my husband. I think she noticed my differences. My sister didn’t like it, but I understood. It is my hope that, as my niece will get older, she’ll appreciate me as a person more and more.
Astrid, thanks for sharing your experience with your niece. Your depth of understanding of your niece’s hesitation is a beautiful testimony of love. And she will come around, as you already know. I find that finding things in common helps bridge the differences. But also frequent visits help. Another thing that helped us is photos and videos of Jessica on my phone; my grandaughter enjoys looking at the photos and videos – perhaps your sister can show pictures so that you are more familiar the next time your niece visits. Thank you for reading my blog and commenting.
This is a beautiful story, Vickie. The one thing I appreciate about your children is their no filtered honesty, but I can also see how that brutal honesty can hurt in their genuine reactions to things that may be different.
But I also feel in my heart that kids are generally very accepting and caring for others. And it sounds like through ice cream and music, Noa and Jess are finding a connection!
Thank you so much. Children are accepting if the parents don’t get in the way!!!
Yes, that is so very true. I find it very sad when not so open minded parents pass on their beliefs and behaviour to their children. One of the not-so-fun things are children growing up!
Sorry. WP is word press.
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Will do! Are you on WP