The song I Am So Like You is dedicated to our daughters, Carla Mirabella and Chloe Lipton.
Song: I Am So Like You ©1977, Lenny Lipton & Mike Mirabella
Watch for the upcoming book I Am So Like You, from Mirabella Books and Songs
Carla and Chloe met in special education pre-school classes and remained the “best of buddies” all through their school years, including high school. Their unique friendship blossomed, although both girls were disabled and struggled with speech impediments. Carla, born with Down syndrome and Chloe, with cerebral palsy, both found happiness in each other’s company. They would act silly and make each other giggle for hours on end.
We believed that perhaps one reason for Carla’s and Chloe’s unique friendship was that their physical contact didn’t just begin and end during the school hours, as with most children. Lenny and Mike (their dads) knew that close friendships are difficult to maintain among special needs children and must be encouraged and nurtured. So, both dads went out of their ways to find time so that the girls could interact together outside as well as inside of school.
Saturdays and Sundays were special times for the girls, regardless of weather conditions. Lenny and Mike would take the girls to the mall on inclement days, or let them play on their front room rugs. On dry days, they would go to Tilden Park in Berkeley to a ride on the carousel or to the Oakland Zoo for the steam train. What fun we all had together.
Eventually, family dynamics changed and the Liptons and the Mirabellas grew apart. But both girls remained the best of friends until Carla’s untimely death in 2008.
Do you have any stories to share about friendships among special needs children? If so, comment here, we’d love to hear about them.
Children are amazing. This is a beautiful example of love and inclusion.