I took Parker for a walk yesterday.
Gone are the days when this kid can survive indoors all the time. Like his older brothers, Parker wants OUT.
Like his other siblings, the doorbell rings and Parker makes a mad dash for the door.
Okay, as mad of a dash as one can with 50 feet of oxygen tubing getting caught on every nook and cranny.
Somebody even heads in the direction of the front door, and Parker is right there with them. Just in case.
So I grab the portable oxygen bottle, connect Parker and off we go for a walk around the neighborhood. As we walk a school bus stops to cough up a group of neighborhood kids. Parker is so excited he can’t stand it. Kids! His favorite kind of people in the whole entire world!
But Parker is of the age and size now where kids close to his age notice the differences.
Why isn’t he talking?
What’s that thing on his neck?
And why in the heck does he think I’m going to let him hug me? I don’t want him to hug me. Totally uncool, dude.
I take the jump and tell those who are still staring that, “This is Parker.” “He’s been really sick a lot and can’t go to school. But he loves to make new friends. Since he doesn’t get to play with kids very often, he get very excited when he sees you. One way he shows how happy he is to meet you is by trying to hug you. Maybe you could help show him that kids your age just like to say hi! instead.
Then, because I know most of these kids parents, I pulled out my secret weapon……Parker’s playset from Make A Wish.
Eyes got big. Salivary glands kicked into gear.
Houston, we had contact.
Did I feel guilty for bribing a couple of neighborhood kids to come hang out with mine?
Not in the least.
In my mind it’s all about building bridges. Finding common interests. I’m firm in my belief that as they get to know Parker and become more familiar with trachs and oxygen tubing, friendships will strengthen.
How do you build bridges? How to you find common interests and help encourage friendships?