A Very Special Kid

by Shirley Hailstock

Like the song My Favorite Things, it's not really a Christmas song but feels appropriate for the season. My story isn't really for Christmas either, but it feels appropriate for any time.

Most of you know I have a special needs daughter. She has ADHD and like all kids when she arrives home from school each day and on weekends, everything is all about her. But she's not the one I want to talk about.

The child I am going to talk about is not a special needs child, not in the manner we usually think of them. She's a beautiful little brown-eyes girl who's allergic to dairy and nuts. She's a tennis player and even at her great age of six years old, she loves the game.

During the winter, some of the kids play indoors. In April, the spring session begins and all the classes are outside. The parents like to welcome the change by throwing a party for the kids in the tennis center right after the last practice.

We get pizza, drinks, cake, etc. none of which our little angel can eat. This year we wanted to do something special so she would not be excluded from the fun and food. At our parent meeting, we talked with her mom who said she would bring something. We said no, because that wouldn't make her special. It would just be mom doing what she always does.

We got her a special pizza with no cheese. We made vegan cookies for her with coconut milk and Earth Balance organic butter (not made from cow's milk). She could drink the fruit juices, but not the special concoctions we blended. Her eyes were like saucers when she saw the food.

To top things off, we (read that as I was assigned) wanted to make her feel really special by telling her (in writing) that we didn't want her left out.

Here's what we said:


In the spirit of the season, take a moment to remember the people who have disabilities and are often left out of the merriment. Our little angel is always included.

Happy Holidays, everyone.


  1. I love this! Good for you and the other parents for realizing what your angel needed. Merry Christmas, Shirley!

    1. She is such a darling and it feels good to both her and us that we think of her.

  2. Shirley, we have several "special" people in our family and I share the joy and difficulty of the food and nutrition choices. God bless you and all your family. Merry Christmas.

  3. A lovely post, Shirley and reminder that special events should be special for all. Merry Christmas!

  4. Wonderful, Shirley. Thank you for making her feel included.

  5. Nicely done, Shirley! It is a Christmas message. After all, it's all about a special child!


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