Friday, May 3, 2024

best buddy

***This post is dedicated to all the students in the Peer Buddy programs in the entire Kirkwood, Missouri School District. I got to see buddying in action yesterday, and it was nothing short of magical.***

Dear Best Buddies,

I haven’t met most of you- but I consider you my best buddy too. I don’t know quite how to thank you, at least with words that match what I feel in my heart.

We don’t always get to choose the details in our life. Especially when we are young. We don’t get to pick how tall we are. We don’t get to pick who our mom and dad is. We don’t get to pick where our house is, and who our relatives are. 

I have two sons, Greyson who is almost 15 and Parker who is 13. They are my whole world, like I bet you are to the people who love you. As soon as I became a parent, I was filled with almost equal amounts of the craziest kind of love, but also fear. The kind of love you can’t imagine until it happens to you. It feels like magic and insanity all at once. And fear- this perfect and amazing human is totally my responsibility. It wasn’t required that I get trained or become certified in parenting- I just decided to have a baby and POOF- I’m a mom. (There’s a lot in between, but we can save that for Health/Wellness class).

I remember holding my first born son, just hours old while we lied in the squeaky, uncomfortable hospital bed. I stared deeply into his stormy eyes and promised him, “I will never let anything bad happen to you.” I knew I would do whatever in the world it took to make that promise come true. 

I also remember, three years later sitting on a hard plastic chair in a florescent lit room where a doctor with the kindest eyes told me, “Your son fits the diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorder.” All the oxygen left the room, and I waited until I got to my car until I broke into a million little pieces. I felt like I had failed my son, and broken my promise. Just two years later, my youngest son Parker was also diagnosed. 

I didn’t choose this for my boys, and they didn’t choose it either. No parent would choose something that would make their child’s life harder. No parent would choose something that makes their child excluded from the world in so many ways. 

It took years for me to realize that there were so many gifts buried in our sometimes hard story. (So many!) I also realized that my boys are not broken, and they are certainly not less than people who don’t have autism. They are just different. Letting this different into my life brought back all the colors that had been drained from it, colors I wasn’t even able to see before. In my boys I see magic, and it’s always my hope and prayer that other people see it too.

There was something you did get to choose to do with your time- and that was to become a Best Buddy. I am overjoyed that programs like this exists. I am ecstatic that you signed up for it. You know that we all have things we are good at, and we all have things we struggle with. Since you’ve spent time with kids like mine, then I know you see the magic too.

Yesterday I saw hundreds of students in action, when Kirkwood High School hosted a Special Olympic Track event. It's the world I want to live in- one where students with Special Needs are supported and celebrated. Seeing the buddies in action has left a permanent impression on my soul.

You know that we are all equally deserving of friendship, regardless of how the world perceives us. We can never choose that- how other people look at us. But we can certainly choose how we look at the world. And I just want to tell you, I like the way you look at the world, my new best Buddy. 

Greyson at the Special Olympics track event, surrounded by volunteers (and a super awesome para) And a special Thank you to Sophie. You are amazing. (photo cred: Dr. C)

To all the buddies, I send you endless gratitude.

Greyson and Parker’s Mom


  1. Double, triple, quadruple hearts ❤️❤️❤️❤️

  2. I hope you printed this post off (in color) and made sure every buddy who participated got a copy!!! It is wonderful to be seen and appreciated! Also, so happy for Grey and Parker.