i’m the mom who walked into the room where 7 staff members sat around a big wooden table, IPads and data sheets in hand, and told me all the areas where my daughter did not meet kindergarten standards…told me all about her lack of progress and the concerns with her behavior and attention. i sat and listened as they discussed why it was the best decision for us to retain her and repeat kindergarten next year. i nodded and shared my concerns and then left, met in the hallway by another parent going in to have the dreaded discussion of failure and unmet goals.
but, strangely, i was not upset by this formal meeting. actually it was our idea to have Mikisa repeat kindergarten. we hope that giving her this repeated exposure to the basics, with the correct supports in place, will maximize her ability to learn and maintain skills. next year, she will have an assistant assigned specifically to her care. we believe this change will make a huge difference in her success in the school environment. she’ll still be in a regular education classroom, but she will receive special education services and speech, PT and OT as well as instruction from a hearing impairment specialist.
i get slightly irritated when i hear parents brag about their children who excel in so many ways–kids that are fast runners, graceful dancers, intellectually gifted, etc. and how proud those parents are of all their children’s accomplishments and abilities. my child…well, she’s learning to walk. she’s learning to talk. she trying really heard to learn appropriate social interactions. she’s still in diapers but we’re working on that. she’s learning to communicate her wants and needs rather than hitting or screaming [although this is a long road and we have miles to go]. she’s learning that life is beautiful when there’s love in it.
and i am proud of her. so, so proud!
i am proud of her fierce determination and how hard she tries to do things even though her body doesn’t always cooperate. she may not be able to dance gracefully but she sure can shake her booty! i am proud of how smart she is [despite the fact that the entire right side of her brain is completely dead and she still experiences nightly seizure activity]. i am proud of how she is learning to trust us. and in learning that simple yet core concept, she is learning to believe in the God who has redeemed her from the pits of emptiness and despair. she is learning to love, and i am so proud of the way she says “i yuf you” and gives hugs and kisses without too much prompting. i am proud of the way she always lets joy shine through, and her smile radiates gratitude. i am proud of how empathetic and compassionate she is. and, even though she is not “graduating” this year, i am thankful for all the progress she has made in kindergarten. she loves her teacher and she loves going to school, and i’m sure she will love kindergarten next year too!