Thanks @Barbie for sponsoring this post, as a part of the #BarbieProject
Watching my daughter grow up is a permanent reminder of a meaningful phrase that I’ve learned since I became a mom: “Everything is possible with love.” My heart aches when I realize that she’s discovering her own feelings, and her ability to express them in one way or the other. One of the most common discoveries for girls her age is friendship. Friendship is such a natural experience for any child, but for those who have special needs, it doesn’t always come as easily and naturally as we would like to.
While girls her age are experiencing their first pajama party with a close friend, or having larger social experiences with girls their own age; Ayelén is still learning to talk, to communicate effectively, and to be more independent. She has a couple of friends at school that she always talks about, saying things like: “Brook said that my hair is beautiful,” or “Mom, a girl told me that I’m cute.” Right after making these proclamations, she always says, “that’s my friend.”
For now, being a friend means liking her and making her feel special. I hope those initial feelings will keep evolving to teach her that friendship is much more than feeling accepted and that it includes having arguments, laughing, and sometimes crying together. I’m conscious that as with any other skill, the whole experience of real friendship is something that may take longer for her to discover and embrace.
So, we were talking about friends: “Who’s your best friend?” I asked as I showed her a picture of her classmates. She looked at me and said, “You are, mom.” Tears came to my eyes. I told her,
“I love you with all my heart Ayelen. I´m your mom, and one day you’ll have a bestie, someone who feels like a part of you in many ways, someone who wears her hair like you do, or maybe not, someone who looks a lot like you, or maybe totally different from you. A friend is such a treasure that you can’t judge by the outside, friendship is something that grows and evolves inside your heart.”
I gave her a hug, and let her keep playing with her iPad.
When I walked into her room later, I stopped to watch something incredibly touching and sweet. There she was, watching a movie with Barbie by her side. The funny thing was, Barbie was wearing her hair just like Ayelen. No words needed, right? I took a picture trying not to break the spell with the sound of the camera.
She didn’t move and kept watching the movie. I sat beside the pair, and asked her, “What are you doing, Ayelen?” “Watching a movie with my friend,” she said. I smiled and kept thinking back to my words to her. There are things that we learn and experience in such different ways. To befriend a doll is one of the most natural and sweet experiences as a girl and I’m proud that my baby is there.
At her age, and with her individual circumstances, Barbie is a friend of hers. At her same age when I was a child, Barbie was a friend of mine too! I used to do the exact same thing, fixing her hair like mine and spending hours of playtime together.
There is something about my daughter that always surprises me, and that is her ability to give me the most amazing lessons in innocence. Sometimes those lessons are wordless, while other times they are filled to the brim with words and excitement. She always reminds me that anything is possible, and even with our differences as human beings, we are all more alike than different.
Her acts with her new friend reminded me of something I forgot to tell her: Every friendship has a meaning and a unique description for each of us, and that real friendship and real love starts within ourselves. We all discover friendship when we are able to reflect our own feelings onto someone else. As girls, we befriend our dolls, and many times is Barbie, who becomes our first true bestie. Being able to share that quiet and meaningful time with ourselves is, in fact, the first step to feeling confident enough to offer our friendship to others, and that’s how we learn to share our dreams and fantasies with a real friend. I’m so grateful that my little girl’s first friend, like mine, is such a great one and I am so excited for all the adventures in friendships that await us both.
What about you, was Barbie also your bestie when you was a child? Join the #BarbieProject with a click here.