I was really encouraged by the recent blog post Marla Smart wrote about dating our children.
It made me think about a special date night I went on with my oldest son a few weeks ago.
Our oldest son was diagnosed with Autism when he was four years old. It has been a challenge throughout the years to find ways to engage with him and activities that work well for him, but thankfully with age and as his communication has improved it has got a little easier.
Recently I saw on the Jungle Jump Facebook page that they were offering a date night for special needs children and their parents.
A parent had spoken to the owner and had asked if they would consider a special night specifically just for this.
Very often the children may need assistance on the bouncy houses and parents aren’t normally allowed on them.
My son is fairly capable of being on the houses on his own, but our challenge at Jungle Jump or any other indoor play facility is that he would get overstimulated.
Overstimulation can lead to melt downs and hyperactivity which is hard when there are lots of other children playing.
I was excited about the opportunity of doing something special with just him. I knew this would be perfect – he loves Jungle Jump and it would be time for us to connect and have fun.
On our way into town, he sat next to me in the car. One on one conversation with my son is usually more one sided, but I remember that night he asked questions and we were able to talk without interruptions or a baby crying in the background.
I had told him that after we were done playing we would go to McDonalds – another favorite thing for him.
Ethan had a great night. He ran and played until his little heart was content.
I loved the freedom he was enjoying without me continually following him around making sure he was safe.
It was a small gathering of parents and children. I know for us and the other families who attended, the kids really enjoyed themselves.
Each of us expressed our relief in not feeling like we had to worry too much about the children or maybe even explain to others why our children acted a certain way.
I got to meet new moms and other beautiful children.
Even though our children’s special needs varied, I felt like there was a common understanding and feeling that we could relate to each other’s circumstances.
I met most of the moms for the first time, but was so pleased at how they took time to speak to Ethan and me, and showed a general interest in my son.
I would like to thank Cheri Pike the owner of Jungle Jump for allowing us to get together in that way.
I know the turnout was small, but for us it was a huge blessing and I really do hope that it is something that can happen again soon.
It created a special night for my son and me; it gave me time to reconnect with him and to see and enjoy the things in him that can often be stressful and challenging.
I was thankful again for the beautiful reminder that my son is “fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Jungle Jump is a great local play area and I am very thankful that our community is able to enjoy it.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made... Pslam 139:14