By Marya Ketchell
Inclusion lives in the heart of the mother
who sends her child with a disability off to school, the playground, and if they are very lucky, a party.
It’s in the voice inside her that whispers:
listen to him,
talk with him,
don’t leave him out; behind.
Inclusion is in the weight on her chest in the line at carpool; when she can’t sleep at night, wondering:
How was his day? Did he learn? Make a friend?
Am I (doing) enough?
Inclusion is the prayer in the soul of the mother,
that her child will be invited to the dance,
the play date,
the table at lunch,
but it’s more than the invitation, she knows:
it’s the being asked to dance and the dancing,
the conversation as they sit and snack.
Inclusion is in the parent who pulls the paper out of the backpack,
Sent home by the mother, desperate to help classmates know her son with a disability.
It’s in the parent who reads that paper with their child, who answers their questions, who teaches kindness and friendship.
Inclusion is in the deep understanding that our differences make us unique,
that there is greatness in distinction,
that we are all human.
It’s in the knowing that everyone has worth.
Inclusion is in the hope that sits on the shoulders of the mother
who knows it begins with her,
but it depends on them;
and “them” is big and vast and wide.
And so inclusion is in everything she does and says and shouts, it’s in every breath of every prayer:
Inclusion is the choir
because every voice contributes
to make the song the whole world can sing
and the refrain of the song is:
we all belong.
The mother hums it in crowds, belts it on highways, sings it softly when the sun sets, a lullaby;
it never leaves her
because inclusion is the answer
and she will build it.
- written by Marya Ketchell
You can read more of Marya's writings on her Instagram page @tour_de_wyatt.