Warning! Cute post alert!  Maggie played soccer and had the time of her life. We became a soccer family and it really brightened up our Saturdays. To be able to go to the soccer fields and have Maggie play and be incorporated into a game that AJ played, and almost all of Maggie’s cousins play, was truly a rewarding experience. We tried a few years ago to have Maggie play, but she became ill after the second game and was out for the season. This year, Maggie stayed well and couldn’t have been more happy to go play soccer every Saturday. We truly looked forward to it as a family.

AYSO, is the American Youth Soccer Organization and they have a VIP program which incorporates kids with special needs. Each kid is given a buddy and that buddy shows up every Saturday to assist their assigned kiddo to play soccer. It really is a good experience. Inclusive, supportive and fun. Yes, please!

This season, Maggie’s buddy was Steve. Every Saturday, we would walk up and he would yell “Maggie!” Maggie would smile so big and start running towards him. She loved playing with him and I’m fairly certain, Steve looked forward to seeing Maggie as well.

Once the season ended, there was a team party at a bowling alley. I wasn’t looking forward to going. Maggie isn’t always okay in new places. A bowling alley seemed like too much sensory. When we got to the bowling alley, we sat next to another soccer family. The music was really loud and the other mom notices Maggie was uncomfortable. She knew right away, sensory overload. Without even asking me or hesitating, she went and asked them to turn the music down a little. They complied. Maggie was a little more comfortable, but not fully. I wasn’t sure if we would bowl. After watching other families bowl with their kids, I decided we would try. Maggie and I got our bowling shoes and headed over to a lane. We had just started walking over to the bowling lanes and saw Steve walking up. Steve was holding flowers and Maggie started smiling so big. Maggie was thrilled that Steve showed up to the Bowling Party. For the next hour, Maggie ate French fries and bowled with him. I was there too, but she could have cared less. Steve was her buddy and she wanted him to bowl with her. I’ll be honest, my eyes welled up a bit with tears a few times. I had to tell myself to pull it together. It was sweet.

During the soccer season, I hadn’t really discussed with Steve why he was Maggie’s buddy, I just assumed it was because other buddies couldn’t handle all of Maggie’s needs. Its funny how life works out sometimes. Steve told me, he’s actually the organizer for buddies. He saw Maggie’s soccer application, showed up the first game and saw her dad had to be her buddy. Steve decided he would do it, he had never been a buddy before, he was a refereee, but he wanted AJ to be able to sit and watch. The whole point of the program is for parents to get a break and sit.

I’m so glad that Maggie took the initiative to tell us, she wanted to play soccer. I’m ecstatic that she was able to play the entire season and have as much fun as she did. I’d say this soccer season was a success for Maggie.Thank you Steve for being an awesome buddy for Maggie.

Steve, if you are up for it, she would love a buddy to go skydiving with next.

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