Thursday, June 15, 2017

An Ode to First Grade

I've tried to put my thoughts and feelings to words all week, but as is typical of my writing here, I am resigned to the fact that I will just try, no matter how clumsily.

I want to write about Jack's first grade year that came to a close last week. I want to tell you about a kid who until 1st grade, had never gone to school for more than 2 hour increments. A kid who never ate a meal at school because of that darn tube. A kid who no one thought was ready, but who proved everyone wrong.

This is a reccurring theme in his life. Jack is on his own journey, why should I keep on being surprised?

It's no exaggeration to say our lives all changed for the better last August. Jack was welcomed and included into a classroom of his peers and I was suddenly with an extra seven hours on my hands each day.

That is not to say Jack did not have help in his transition. He was paired with about the most gifted para professional we have encountered and he still had lots of time when needed in the resource classroom. It's just that this year we felt (and it was shown), how welcome he was in the first grade classroom. 

This is the way it should always be. This is what the research points to. This is what was best for Jack, no doubt.

I'm here to say that first grade was a dream come true. I don't use that phrase lightly, because it really felt like a dream, a pie in the sky, a shot in the dark, that this whole school thing would work for Jack. It felt daunting to teach someone else how to tube feed, to take a non-verbal child and drop him off for the entire day, to trust that everyone was on the same page. Of course there were growing pains, but this year was a resounding success.

And you know what we do around these parts? We take the good and run with it (or in Jack's case, adaptive bike with it).

So long first grade. You set the dream foundation for Jack and although we're all a little melancholy around here that it had to come to an end, we hope and pray 2nd grade knocks us off our socks.
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Meg Kearney said...

Thank you so much for sharing - you are such an amazingly loving family and I love hearing your story. I began following along shortly after my 26 weeker came home from the NICU, he's 2.5 now.

I think this is the first time you've shared Jack's bike! Growing up my dad always made sure I had a bike that fit me and it's represented freedom for me from when I was little and even as an adult I still LOVE it. So I always get teary eyed when I see others able enjoying it! We just got my little one on a bike this year and each day we go out, I can see his love for it grow and grow!

Take care!

Jessi said...

Meg, he LOVES his bike. It's really helps with strengthening his legs, and yes, has given him such a sense of freedom. We are so happy he enjoys it. I get teary, too!!