Monday, October 21, 2013

October, 2011 Down Syndrome Awareness Month... Day 20

"Who do I have today?" (Part 1)
That’s a question of the day. Every day.  He wants to know which ed tech he will be with at school... Ms. Tracy or Ms. Kellie.

I’m not even sure why he asks me because, no matter my answer, it’s met with a big “YES”! He adores them both, equally and obviously. For that I am thankful…

When Josh began kindergarten, it was decided that he would have a one on one aide to help him thru this day. I knew this was a necessity, but I wondered about the personality that would take care of my son for more hours in a year than I would. Would it just be a job for her or would she genuinely care for him? Would he respond to her? Would she help him or hinder him by helping too much?

Then I met Tracy.

Tracy was chosen (by God, I'm convinced) to be his 1:1 for this all important year. She quickly became very important... not only to Josh, but to our family.

She encouraged, but expected a lot out of him. She inspired friendships that are still strong today. She cheered and disciplined, knowing which situations deserved which. Tracy nurtured Josh (and ME) that that crucial year.

Tracy has a kindness about her that instantly makes you comfortable. Her smile is genuine and contagious. She is beautiful, inside and out.

And... as is quite obvious by this picture... Josh feels the same way

"Who do I have today?" (part 2)

With 1st grade brought a new aide. You see, the ‘powers that be’ felt that Josh would get too attached to Tracy… they felt it was in his best interest to work with someone brand spankin’ new. Tracy loved my son… why would I want to “fix” what wasn’t broken… it wasn’t even a little bit broken.

Then I met Kellie.

Kellie Badger Brazier has the spark of no one I have ever met before. She’s a big ball of fire all wrapped up into one little woman who loves her job. Her enthusiasm was just what Josh needed in the 1st grade because it would turn out to be a somewhat trying and traumatic year.

Josh underwent right hip surgery in the 1st grade… he spent over a week in the hospital and then a few more at home before returning to school. He was in a spica cast (they call it full body but really, it just went from under his arms to his knees). Kellie tutored him during that time. 
Every morning, she would show up bright and early, coffee in hand and ready to tackle whatever Josh would dole out. The kid was in a body cast… he didn’t want much to do with numbers and letters at that point. But Kellie was the highlight of our days… and she got things done. There wasn’t much digression during that time… if you can believe it… thanks to Ms. Kellie and her magic!

Kellie and Josh have a special connection. She is able to fire him up and settle him down. She has that ability with me too... she's able to fire me up (as needed) and settle me down (as needed).

"Peace Out Ms. Kellie"

"Who do I have today?" (part 3)

In the 2nd grade, the girls shared him… they switched from week to week… a true indication that having Josh all by yourself is a big job!

They are sharing him again this year and have taken it a step further… one has him in the morning and the other in the afternoon. This makes me chuckle. It’s working for them (and him) and I think I should try it at home (I’ll take him in the morning and Jon can have him in the afternoon)… but Jon’s not so eager.

Note to Tracy & Kellie... Your job is extremely important and extremely valued. You are both amazing at what you do... I have never felt that Josh is just your job. Josh, as already stated, adores each of you... equally and obviously. I have tried to let you both know this often… but it never seems like often enough.

One of the things I struggled with most in the beginning (and still struggle hugely with), is the fact that Josh can’t tell me the goings on of his day. To Josh, every day is a “goog” day. You are his voice. You bridge the gap between home and school. You affect his life more than any other person(s) as you spend the most time with him.

So... thank you for being outstanding. You both deserve a BUG award.


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