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Daring to Dream

May 23, 2013

“It’s the possibility that keeps me going, not the guarantee.”
~ Nicholas Sparks

Today was IEP day for Mary. I was on edge. I know that this school is the best place for her. They have been nothing short of amazing with her. After already having the competing deaf school give up on us, I felt determined to make the case that Mary was progressing here, even though the data, as it is written, would disagree.

I was nervous.

I should have known that I didn’t need to be.

Her teacher, her speech therapist, her principal – they were all there. And they all knew. They genuinely saw it. They saw the slow, incremental progress that they have fostered with consistent, patient joy. They see her potential. And they see a path to reaching it. A path to independent communication in any way, shape or form she is able to accomplish it.

They commented on how incredible it is when she meets their gaze, or when she just starts to imitate a dance. They were genuinely moved and excited just the other day, when she made three separate signs – “more,” “milk,” and a brand new sign, “music.” All were done appropriately to request items. And then yesterday, she signed “baby” to request a friend’s baby doll. Which she then examined and played with. This is beyond huge. Mary doesn’t usually play with dolls, much less request them and then play with them. Her teacher related these stories with all the excitement that such huge milestones are due.

I tried to tell them, as best I could without falling apart into a blubbery pile of tears, how much I appreciated what they are dong for my girl. How absolutely incredible it is to know that they get it. That they see her. That they are watching and observing closely enough to recognize her forms of communication. They see the sideways glances, the tapping of her hands, the cocking of her head – they see it all, and they see it for what it is – communication. And what’s more, is the other children in her class, being deaf as well, seem to get it too. They celebrate her arrival each day, and love to help her in class. The staff never pressure her. Her teacher and teacher’s aide have been incredible with her. I don’t know that I could put into words what it means to have that kind of support and expertise for Mary.

At the end of our long day, we arrived home, to our new house. Just as Mary was finishing her nap, thunderstorms started to roll in. I think I have mentioned (more than a hundred times probably!) that we now have a front porch – with a swing. Not knowing what the future will bring for Mary’s vision I have been bringing her out to the swing each afternoon to watch her leaves dancing in the breeze. But today was the first opportunity for her to be out there during a storm. Since Mary wears glasses and hearing aids, a thunderstorm out in the open is a blurred and muffled event compared to what you or I may experience. Her hearing aids cannot get wet, so during a heavy rain I often take them off. Her glasses, while able to get wet, are often blurred by raindrops, obscuring her view. But today, hidden under the roof of the front porch, but still out in the midst of the forest, Mary got a full view of a wonderful storm. Each flash, each roll of thunder, eliciting a response. The sound of the rain on the trees was breathtaking. She sat mesmerized by the falling rain and the dancing leaves.

And so it was, that we ended our day, sitting on our swing, feeling so incredibly grateful. Grateful for the storms. Grateful for the path that we have found. And so grateful for the people we are meeting along the way.

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“The key question to keep asking is, Are you spending your time on the right things? Because time is all you have. ”
~ Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Life&Ink permalink
    May 23, 2013 12:18 pm

    Awesomeness. Pure, simple awesomeness!

  2. May 23, 2013 12:37 pm

    I am appalled that a school gave up on her. 😦 However, that she is with people who foster her strengths and bring out the best in her… That’s amazing. It seems they celebrate her for being -her- and help her cut her own path being the best little girl she was born to be. What more could we ask for for our children?

    Keep enjoying your rainstorms on your pretty swing Mary!

    • May 23, 2013 11:04 pm

      Leaving the other school was one of the best things that could have happened to her. They were not what she needed. It is a method that works for some kids, but it just wasn’t working for her. While I wish they had handled it differently, at the end of the day, at least they were honest with me – that they didn’t have what she needed. The school she is at now is where I wanted her to go, but they didn’t have a toddler class for her then. But now she is right where she needs to be, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

  3. May 23, 2013 12:38 pm

    o, your new home seems so perfect! so happy for you all.

  4. Sarah Taylor permalink
    May 24, 2013 12:37 am

    Goosebumps and happy tearing up…this is a beautiful post!

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