Walking Party 101

February 10, 2012

When I left off for a while in the fall while working on this new site, I mentioned that we planned to have a party for Rachel in honour of her recently acquired skill of walking. As I wrote earlier, I had told a lot of people that when she finally learned to walk, I would throw a party, and in October we were finally able to hold this momentous event.  As I planned it, it occurred to me that we don’t celebrate these awesome moments in life nearly enough. It was truly thrilling to just throw a party for no other reason than because we felt so excited about her achievement. I think it gave friends of ours insight into how special these milestones are and how we want to share the successes of our child rather than worry about the fact that it took so long to get there. 

Families with children who have DS or other disabilities, I highly, highly recommend celebrating any hard-won skill.  It’s a joyous time among periods that aren’t always so rosy.  If you’re looking for ideas, here is our recipe for a fabulous Walking Party:

1. Choose the venue

Because we really wanted to celebrate Rachel’s new ability, we booked our party at an indoor playground.  It wasn’t a huge place, which was nice because it meant we had the whole place to ourselves.  The climbers were perfect for children who were newly mobile and older ones too!

2. Invite your friends

For us, this was the perfect opportunity to connect our family with some of our long-time friends as well as our new friends we have met through our local Down Syndrome Association.  Sometimes it feels like we have two separate lives going on, and it was a pleasure to bring all the people we care about together.  Our old friends were so interested in meeting some of the new little ones who we have met through Rachel, and more than one marvelled at how well they are all doing.  It all builds awareness!

3. Order a cake

The cake was all important. I wanted it to say “Happy Walking Rachel” and to have footprints all over it. The bakery did the rest!  Be sure to sing Happy Walking to You! when the cake comes out. 

4. Plan your playlist

I have to say, I love a good theme for a party. As our theme was walking, we downloaded some walkin’ tunes.  Among them:

  • These Boots are made for Walking – Nancy Sinatra
  • Walking on Sunshine - Katrina and the Waves
  • Walk Right In – Starshine Orchestra and Singers
  • Walk Like a Man – The Four Seasons
  • Walk – The Wiggles
  • I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) – The Proclaimers
  • Walk of Life – Dire Straits
  • Walk Away – Kelly Clarkson

The kids are still enjoying listening to their “Walking CD”.

5. Bring some snacks and drinks

We held our party from 10-12 so we brought muffins, fruit, cheese, crackers, apple juice, and coffee for the grownups.  The busy kids were hungry and devoured the food.

6. Enjoy!

We had such a wonderful time. It was heartwarming to see all of our old and new friends together. Although we requested Best Wishes Only on our invitations, some of our friends got on board with our theme, and Rachel received a gift card for new shoes and the game “Happy Feet”.  

Such a special way to celebrate several years of hard work for our little trooper!

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