Last week, after receiving a record number of entries, we drew a winner for our Sassy Sweet Pea giveaway. One entry in particular was so touching, we felt it was important to share with our readers. Antonia Spiteri entered the contest in order to win the prize for Julia- her son’s best friend (or girlfriend, according to him!), saying “I thought this would be a wonderful gift for him to give her when they are back at school.”
Another lucky mom ended up winning the contest, but we were so moved by Antonia’s story we had to do something. So, on behalf of Sassy Sweet Pea and Mums ‘n Chums I’d like to congratulate Antonia with her own Sassy Sweet Pea prize pack for Sam to give to Julia!
by Antonia Spiteri
As parents, we try our best so that our children can grow and live a happy and independent life. No one knows this struggle better then the parent of a child with a disability.
My youngest son Sam has Cerebral Palsy and is wheelchair bound. Last summer was a very heartbreaking time for me, as I finally had to face that my little man was growing up. Soon the fall would be near and the time I had feared most since he was diagnosed with CP was rapidly approaching. It was time to let him go into the big open world of school.
All moms know the first time we let our kids go it alone to kindergarten is difficult, but I found it devastating. To be honest, every medical appointment, every missed milestone that was out of Sam’s reach, the fact that he couldn’t walk or crawl, never bothered me. My children are perfect to me, but unfortunately the world is a cruel place, and unleashing that on my child was a very scary thought.
Letting go is never easy as a parent but this was a tough one. I never see the leg braces, or notice that he says words differently anymore. I have even forgotten about the wheelchair. However, I feared his classmates would not be able to do the same, that my child would be shunned, made fun of or worse, never be given the chance to be a friend.
As the first day of school was upon us, I dropped off my son, who was so proud and happy. He was beaming from ear to ear as he stated, “I’m going to school to play with friends”. My heart sank and I cried all the way home, it was heartbreaking for me to know he may not be accepted.
But Sam came home that day still smiling, and talking about a girl from his class…”My girlfriend, my Julia”, a special friend who was able to see past his disability and take the fear away from me.
I spent the rest of the school year listening to Sam speak of Julia, who was always by his side, from the school dance to field trips. Sam made it through his whole first year, granted his journey was different than most.
Sam’s milestones haven’t really been met, he spends more time in hospitals, doctors’ offices and therapy interventions then anyone in his class will ever know. However, I no longer worry about school as much, thanks to one little girl who showed me that friendship sees beyond a person’s limitations to who they truly are. Julia (and the whole class) have given me hope that future generations will see beyond persons with disabilities.
Special thanks to Keri Kitto-Fast of Sassy Sweet Pea for helping us out and creating a second prize pack of gorgeous ribbons for Julia. Congratulations, Antonia!
For more information on how to get your own adorable Sassy Sweet Pea accessories, visit Keri’s SSP Facebook page at facebook.com/SassySweetPea