The date was February 13th. What a perfect day to meet a special little boy. That was the day my daughter met her first boyfriend, Blake, in kindergarten. Blake was blond, cute and tall. His father was in the military, which is why he came in February. Blake had no disability, and he was instantly smitten with my daughter Yassy, who has Down syndrome.
Every day I walked Yassy to her hallway. Blake came on a bus and got there early, so he sat along the hallway waiting for the classroom to open. The first day he jumped up from where he was and introduced himself to Yassy. He gallantly took her lunchbox and backpack. And they were friends. Just like that.
Every day after that for kindergarten and first grade, Blake jumped up when Yassy arrived, and carried her lunchbox and backpack. But they were more than friends in the sense that they were almost inseparable. They ate lunch, played at recess, and played together outside of school. Being at each other’s birthday parties was a must. They loved to pose for pictures. Blake’s parents often joked with me that they posed together with prom picture stances. That always made me smile inside. I knew the chances of them going to high school together were slim, much less a prom, but for the moment we were all very happy.
Then life happened. Blake moved. First to a neighboring city, which was an adjustment. But still saw each other. Then they moved out of the area and we lost touch. I have often looked for him or his parents over the years on social media, and have never been able to find them.
Yassy is now a senior who is fully included in high school. But we have never forgotten Blake. He broke all stereotypes. He showed us from a young age that one can never predict who your child’s friends and — as they get older — significant others will be. He showed us that people beyond our little circle saw the shining light and beauty our Yassy has. And he raised the bar, very high.
Yassy does not have a boyfriend right now. When she does, he will need to care like Blake did. He will need to be consistent like Blake was. He will need to be proud and supportive of her like Blake was. And he will need to love unconditionally. Like Blake did. Having a great family like he did would be perfect.
As my daughter is about to start her senior year in high school, I look back with gratitude at her wonderful beginning in school. I was so worried back then, as most parents are. But there was no need for all that worry. Especially when the world has wonderful people like Blake, and his family.
Wherever you are Blake, we wish you well.
More stories from Greta Harrison:
- Why We Need Teachers to Become Advocates for Our Kids With Disabilities
- How a Dance Recital Showed Me What Inclusion Can Be Like for My Daughter With Down Syndrome