Most parents assume that their child(ren) will go to kindergarten when they turn five years old. I mean, it's just a standard part of society, right? It's the norm. They don't think twice about it. It's just what happens.
Well, for Brady P, that wasn't just going to happen on its own. There was nobody, absolutely nobody telling me from the start, "Oh, your son has Down syndrome? That's no problem for the educational system. He'll just blend right in. It'll be fine."
Because it's true.
Everybody had to work hard:
- Braeden started learning more and more after his health improved around 5 months old after heart surgery.
- He continued to hunger for the praise of finding the right letters, numbers, colors, shapes, etc before he was two years old.
- He worked with therapists to progress in his ability to say letters and sounds.
- Grammies, Grampies and Dad worked with him on all of their special talents.
- I worked extensively with the Copper Country Intermediate School District and the Grant Township School District to set up what we might call "Special Education" in the one room schoolhouse. *Ummmm, excuse me??? The one room schoolhouse right in Copper Harbor??? You bet your sweet behind!!! We didn't even have to move to a bigger school system!!!*
- This summer, Braeden and I worked 4 days a week on holding a pencil, drawing letters and numbers and cutting with his special scissors because that was the biggest recommendation before he started kindergarten.
Yup, little Brady P, almost 5 years old, is in kindergarten. Right now. Allowing me to write this weekly blog in a timely fashion, work on my career, work on my house, get out for adventures, make nutritious meals, go to town by myself and just plain feel like the door swung open on my mom cage.
Let me tell you a little bit about yesterday.
We both got up earlier than usual because the bus was due at 7:40 am. Yup, the bus picks him up in the morning!!!
He seemed chipper, got ready for school, put on his backpack and I took a couple pictures of my little kindergartener.
We got to our bus waiting spot, the bus came, I took another picture, buckled him in and kissed him on the head. Then his dad went on and wished him well too. Aaron and I both cried. I high-fived him as the bus drove off.
Then I walked up to my door bawling. I sat down on my couch and bawled. I looked at his cute pictures from the morning and bawled some more. I thought about all those bullet points that I just mentioned above and I bawled. Tears well in my eyes as I type this now even!
I was so proud of that little boy. He is so independent in his spirit. He is so smart. He tries so hard. He loves to feel like one of the kids, and the kids just love him. Yes, he is extra work (just ask his aids at school!), but he is so worth it.
He came home yesterday with a smile on his face, and woke up today ready to do it again.
If you have been keeping up on this blog, you know how much I have dedicated my life to that little boy over the last five years. Him going to kindergarten was never assumed. It was not even expected. But you know what? He deserves it. I deserve it. His family and this community deserve it.
I am so absolutely grateful for everyone who helped make this possible. It was a giant team effort held together by a mama who refused to give up.
People always told me I was a super mom or an amazing mom or that they could never do what I was doing. I never knew how to respond to that because I was in it. I was just doing what I had to do.
But now, looking down from the climax of this achievement, I can see what I did. I pushed the whole time. And the support from my friends, family, community and school districts were pivotal in keeping me strong enough to keep moving forward that whole time.
I seriously can't believe it. Brady P. has shown me once again that anything is possible.
And again. I'm bawling.