Jeremy and I were so lucky to attend a Notre Dame football game last weekend. We’ve been going there every year since 2002 – my Dad is a huge fan and my dear friend Brendan went to ND for law school. It’s always an amazing experience!
This year was no exception. Jeremy’s parents were so kind and took the kids for the entire weekend so we could have some time to ourselves. What an amazing feeling – only having to worry about yourself! It’s definitely a must for all parents, but especially parents dealing with disability. Anyway, at the end of the game, the ND marching band (oldest in USA college history) played their halftime show that was ruined by Mother Nature 2 weekends prior. They played Amazing Grace – and the entire crowd started singing. I tried to swallow a huge lump in my throat while Jeremy choked back tears. This song has new meaning for us now and here’s why:
Tonight I commented to Jeremy on Kate’s amazing progress. She is on a roll, her development soaring. She is crawling like crazy and can get in and out of sitting from any position with her nice flat, open hand to assist her! Anyone who knows her sees it and is stunned. We feel very fortunate that we are able to watch our child triumph over her affliction. It’s so exciting and super cool. Not everyone gets the chance to see something so amazing. Kate is, without a doubt, a miracle.
Jeremy agreed with me and responded back with some interesting perspective. He said that before Kate came along, he was blind. He was blind to the world and she has helped him to really SEE. And it’s a better world that we see now. It’s so true. I didn’t know what the world truly held in store for me until Kate. And no matter what happens with her development, I know that she has worked so hard to get this far and that in itself is a huge accomplishment.
Kate has had an amazing few weeks. She started preschool one morning a week. She has a resource aid, who is unbelievably great with her. I took some great advice and ideas from another Angel mom and I was so prepared for Kate’s first day. I created an “All about me” to hand out to parents and a Kate-wiki for her teachers. I gave them to the community living resource consultant and she was very positive about Kate entering the school system in the future. I felt FANTASTIC after seeing Kate integrate with the other two year olds. It was a sight for sore eyes. I gave the preschool teacher a tight hug with tears in my eyes and thanked her for taking my child. She so GETS it! Is it actually possible that other people will love and care for my child better than I ever thought possible? Yep, it’s more than possible, it’s probable! A week later, I was doing my co-op parental duty in the preschool class and got to see the most amazing site: Kate sitting at the snack table surrounded by the other kids, smiling away, waiting as patiently as she can for her food! It took my breath away.
This past Friday was Kate’s first morning without me there. I was anxious as I dropped her off, but she was in full playtime mode as soon as she arrived to class and wasn’t particularly fussed about me AT ALL! She came home with a finger painting she had done with her name printed neatly at the top. I have never seen a more beautiful piece of art. It makes all the adults in Kate’s life cry just to look at it. Jamie is so proud of his sister. As soon as I came home from work on Friday, he led me to the fridge and pointed out Kate’s “artwork”. He shows it to everyone. He knows what a big deal it is. He’s four and he GETS it too. My heart is swollen with pride and love for both of my children – I think it might just burst! I am ready for whatever lies ahead with the school system. I loved what I saw at preschool over the past 3 weeks: full inclusion. No exceptions. This is what I am after for my Kate. I won’t give up until Kate gets the educational experience she so deserves. She’s going to be awesome and other kids will benefit from her just as she will benefit from them.
Kelly is Kate's devoted, caring, Type-A mom. Kelly is a high school physics teacher who earned her masters degree in neuroscience from McMaster University in 2003.