The most important part about our family picnic is inclusion.

Today was the first time Namine has ever been in a bounce house. She’s seen them, of course, most recently at our church picnic. But we’ve never let her go in; she can’t stand without assistance, and the risk to her is too great because of other, careless children. She understands. She doesn’t like it, but she understands.

But today, at our family picnic, that changed. Namine’s cousins have, as long as they’ve known her, always been careful around her. But maybe “careful” is the wrong word. Maybe a better one is “aware.” They’re aware of her disability, but they’ve never treated her differently. She’s always been invited to join in whatever they’re playing.

In the case of the bounce house set up outside, it was no different. Namine’s cousins were more than happy to invite her inside, and they played well together.

Children learn from their parents. They learn their habits, their mannerisms, and they learn their prejudices. It’s easy for an adult to take a child for granted, but that has never happened with my aunts and uncles. They’ve always treated Namine with the respect any person deserves, and their children have learned it, too.

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