All summer, Jian has been asking if she can have a sleep over after she heard the little girls in her class talking about it toward the end of the school year. Suddently I realized that school is about to start back, and we had not done our sleep over yet. I felt that she was not really ready to sleep at someone else’s house, so her friend down the street came to stay at our house last night. They had a blast! Giggling, polishing their fingernails and toenails, playing with every toy in the house, swimming. I could tell that Jian was very proud to be sharing her home and a glimpse of her life with her friend. When it was time to eat dinner, we sat at the table. Jian moved my Bible aside and said in a very proud tone, “That’s my mommy’s Bible. She uses it when they have Bible studies here.” Then she made sure that no one started eating until we said the prayer.
Before her friend came over, Jian had told me to go hide her crutches. As the night went on, I kept thinking and thinking about that. When her friend came downstairs, I whispered and asked her how she would feel about walking with our extra pair of crutches the next day so Jian wouldn’t feel so self conscious. She paused for about half a second and said, “Sure! I would do that for her!” So this morning, we all went to church and both girls used the crutches. As we were driving up, Jian started becoming very anxious and saying that she was scared. She sat outside the door and cried and didn’t want to walk in for a while. But finally she got over it and walked all through church, at the restaurant when we went to lunch, and to the swimming pool again. When we were leaving the pool, she informed me that she wanted to walk home. I tried not to act surprised that she wanted to walk up hill for several blocks with her crutches. So I drove slowly beside them, and they made it half way and then said they were getting tired.
What a huge, huge accomplishment today! One of my biggest worries for her when she first came home was how other children would react and treat her. And I have been pleasantly surprised again and again by the huge acts of kindness and acceptance from so many of her new friends. We have a week and a half until school starts. After we get that tackled, we should be home-free with these crutches!