Most people in life search for acceptance. For most, it can be a difficult thing to gain acceptance from complete strangers let alone family. Parents love their children unconditionally, but the same is not true for extended family. Sometimes extended family can be the most harsh, pointing out your weaknesses relentlessly.
Last night we had our family Christmas party with 80 or so of our closest family members from my mom’s family. We had a potluck dinner and the REAL Santa showed up to pass out gifts. Earlier in the day we purchased an app for Kade’s iPad called Melody Bells. It is an app with a series of hand bells at different tones. Kade got to use it before we left the house and he really enjoyed it. We took his wheelchair and iPad to the party with us so he could ring the bells for Santa. We set up the iPad during dinner and let Kade play with it. He went to town playing the bells and filling the room with sound. After dinner Santa passed out gifts to all the people who exchanged names.
After Santa left everyone hung out talking. Several family members came over to visit with Kade. Some talked to him and watched him play with the iPad. Some rubbed his head and held his hands. A few of the kids came over and helped him move his hands to touch the bells that are harder for him to reach. I didn’t catch any stares, or pitty looks. All I saw was acceptance for who Kade is and what he was doing. That was the best gift of the night.