Special Friendship Slumber Party
Education

CareBears Love for Rylae: A Story of Hope and Support for Children with Rare Diseases

Carebear is a very unique girl. As her name suggests, she has a caring and kind heart that goes above and beyond what my husband and I have seen in all our years of teaching. Our daughter has been the recipient of her genuine and respectful demeanor.

“Rylae is my sister. We look alike! Look at our hair. We are the same.”

Carebear was just 8 when she first met Rylae was 3 at the time. She has a combination of friend and maternal instincts, and knew how to care for her. Sometimes I would joke to her and say that she should train our nanny with her strategies because Rylae always listens to her.

Carebear is not only a friend, she is like family. A true friend accepts you for being you, but also supports you to become the best you can be.

Rylae had her first slumber party with Carebear. Both Richard and I were dubious if it would be successful, but Carebear asked with the confidence that pushed us to step back. Thankfully we did because that night, as Richard and I sat at the table, we soaked in the sounds of laughter. 

We watched as the two played and ran around the house. Another taste of parenthood, a feeling we had longed just 3 years prior. We wanted our daughter to have friendships. Not only does this experience supply an emotional need, it is also essential for learning. It helps replicate reality and support higher order thinking such as problem solving, communication, and more.

Every Morning, Rylae would be so excited to go to school because she knows that Carebear is there waiting for her. She is Rylae’s comfort. Carebear is not just enthusiastic but the smile on her face seeing Rylae every morning melts my heart. Carebear Runs up to Rylae, hugs and kisses her, then hold her hand and plays with her at the playground.

Carebear makes sure Rylae goes into her classroom. She waves good bye and tells her to have a good day. Rylae smiles and she waves back saying “take care!” Through her friendship with Carebear, Rylae has learned to become more independent. She has a wonderful role model, and we would be ecstatic if she absorbs a fraction of Carebear’s interpersonal skills.

Today, taking Rylae to school is a joy because of the internal growth she has made from having friendship. Before I always had a stressful time sending her to class before rushing off to my first session. Now, we enjoy the moment together and say a proper goodbye. I wave as she confidently walk into class while thinking to myself, my little girl is growing up!

By Judy Wei

Judy Wei was born in Taiwan but grew up in Thailand. She has a BA in Special Education and a Masters in Education K-12.
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