We had offered Namine her choice of venue for where to have her birthday party. She chose to have it at the bowling alley.

We’d gone bowling at this place before, so we knew they could accommodate a wheelchair. They set up a small ramp for Namine to go up to bowl. In addition to setting up the bumpers — it’s not a bowling party without bumper bowling — they gave us a rack so Namine, from her wheelchair, could push the ball down the lane.

Namine had a lot of fun last time we had gone bowling, but she had needed help pretty much every step of the way. I mention this not because I minded helping her (I never do), but to highlight the contrast between then and today. The ramp up to the bowling lane was steep, and Namine did need a helping nudge to make it up, but after that she was pretty self-sufficient.

I had started Namine out with a green six-pound ball, the lightest I could find, but she eventually settled on alternating between a pink seven-pounder and an orange eight-pounder. She would grab the ball, set it on her lap, and wheel up to the bowling rack in front of the lane. She’d have to lock her brakes to lift her ball — she doesn’t know Newton, but she understood what happened when she didn’t — and she’d give the ball a good shove.

After the kids played a game, we went into the room we had set up for pizza and cake. After Jessica and I helped the kids find their seats — with Namine at the head of the table, of course — we sat at the far end. It was Namine’s day, after all, and she deserved to be left alone with her friends. Rambunctious they may have been, but everyone was well-behaved.

The kids had just started digging into their pizza when Namine tried getting everyone’s attention. There were a great many loud children, though, so I hollered, “Hey, everyone! Namine has an announcement!”

I looked at Namine and said, “Go ahead, sweetie.”

Namine said loudly, “Everyone, we forgot to pray! We need to thank Jesus for the food!”

So Namine led us in the common table prayer, making sure to be loud enough that everyone could hear.

After we finished eating pizza, Namine opened presents. There were a great many, not the least of which were a plethora of My Little Ponies and a movie I’d been meaning to buy for Namine myself. Namine was thrilled at everything, with not a little wide-eyed glee.

After presents, we broke out the cupcakes. Last night, Jessica, Namine, and I had made thirty cupcakes. Half were chocolate with red frosting, made to look like ladybugs. Half were vanilla, with white frosting.

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I’d say Namine enjoyed her ladybug.

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  • What an awesome birthday party and sweet birthday girl. Now I know how to pronounce Namine’s name correctly! Bethany loves to go bowling with her recreation club friends.