I wrote this post on my personal Facebook account today, and I wanted to share it with you here. Because it’s special to me:
Today our precious Nadia had her preschool graduation. 🎉 As always, I want to share a bit of my heart. While I’m feeling a little melancholy about the whole growing-up-too-fast thing, I’m also feeling relieved that I can *finally* say I have a Kindergartener. Cause I know what it took to get to this point. For the past 3 years, Nadia’s worked day in and day out to make the progress that she’s made. Her teacher, who has been with her since day one, has invested so much into our child that we actually see her as family now. She’s been like a mentor- always giving Dana and I encouragement when we break down and admit that we feel like we’re failing miserably as parents. She’s cried WITH me and FOR me as we talk about both Nadia’s struggles and accomplishments. She’s fought some good fights alongside us as we worked together as a team to stand up for what we knew was best for Nadia. She’s sat beside me at every IEP meeting and has been like the calming presence in the room- because when I’d start to feel unheard, I could look from my peripherals and know the person beside me has heard me clearly and is on my side. And to see her today, after 3 years of hard work, finally getting to hand Nadia a little diploma as she moves on… well, that took everything in me not to burst into tears! The little girl that first showed up in her room in November of 2014, just months after getting diagnosed with autism, isn’t the same girl she’s seeing exit her classroom. She arrived her first day with Lambie and Cozy clutched in her 3.5 year old arms, unable to speak except in repeated phrases she’d picked up in tv shows and books, unable to hold eating utensils or grip pencils or drink from cups without a straw. She was unable to potty train and quite honestly, still in a “bubble” of sorts. But the girl who had a list of cannot’s now has a list of can’s. She can read & write and do all the things she couldn’t (& she no longer needs occupational therapy!), and although she still relies on using play scripts from time to time in order to learn how to talk with her peers, she speaks clearly and without prompting. There’s a night and day difference in our child, and it’s because a group of people came together and didn’t just do their job, but took a great interest in Little Miss Nadia Noelle. Her teacher, the precious and patient aides she’s had over the years, and her speech & occupational therapists have literally been a Godsend to us! How could I ever completely say thank you for giving me my child back?! I can’t. Because what they’ve done isn’t repayable. If all goes smoothly, Nadia will graduate in 2030, and I will do whatever I can to make sure Mrs. G will be taking a seat beside me as we watch our girl receive another diploma. (She joked that she’ll be so old she probably won’t be able to walk, but I said phooey on that cause I’ll wheel her butt in myself if I have to!) But no matter how these next years go, I’ll forever cherish the little diploma bear she received today- Cause it was earned by hard, diligent, teamwork by people who selflessly poured themselves into a girl (and her mama) who desperately needed some hope. May I always use them as a model and be the same for those around me. I’m so thankful that my miracle baby is continuing her life adventure as an overcomer- not that I’d expect anything less. 💖
Thank you, God for the amazing people who have touched our lives so deeply- Like Nadia’s preschool teacher who I will now always refer to as my friend.
Go get ’em, Nadi.