This month has been filled with so much; so much change, so much emotion, so much reflection.
This month two major things took place in our house. A new school year started, and we celebrated Craniofacial Acceptance Month.
School started without a hitch and the boys had a great first week. Then, in the middle of the second week we got a call that Jameson would be moving to a new school. My heart initially sank, but as the call went on I found out that Jameson was moving with his whole class and his teaching staff.
He has spent that last year and a half in PPCD (Preschool Programs for Children with Disabilities). This year the goal was to put him in the inclusion program. The goal with the inclusion program is to integrate PPCD kids with Gen-Ed so they can transition out of PPCD. Well, the school he was at didn’t have any kids enrolled in the afternoon block of Pre-K, so there wasn’t anyone to integrate the PPCD kids with! So, the district decided to move the PPCD class to a school with enough enrollment in Gen-Ed Pre-K to facilitate the inclusion.
I was nervous. We felt at home with Jameson’s school. He started going to PPCD in January of 2015. The administrative staff, the school nurse, and the teachers all know Jameson. This is his second year with the same teacher who sees Jameson for who he is and pushes him, and challenges him. I didn’t want to lose that.
The turnaround was quick. I think we got the call on Tuesday or Wednesday, and the move took place the very next Monday. On the Friday before we stopped by to say Hi. The school is bigger, and of course, so different.
The reason Jameson had to move is a great reason. I feel lucky that the school district took swift action to put our kids in the environment they need to be challenged move on to the next step. I think maybe other school districts may not have noticed or done anything about it, and kids like Jameson and his classmates would sit stagnant in a class for a whole year without the opportunity to participate in an inclusion program. So, I am very grateful that we have the support we do from our school district.
But, at the same time, change is always a little scary. The unknown if things will be okay is always on the top of your mind.
After we left the school that Friday I realized that Jameson will be okay; and I knew that. I mean, this kid has adapted and overcome everything he’s faced in four short years – and always with a smile on his face. Jameson has a strong personality, he is so self-confident and independent. I realized that deep down I wasn’t worried about Jameson dealing with the change. But I was worried about a new group of kids that would be meeting and seeing a craniofacial kid, most likely, for the first time.
And that’s why Craniofacial Acceptance Month means so much. Every day of our lives is about craniofacial awareness and acceptance. But, in September we get to be obnoxious about it and scream it from the roof-tops. In hopes that one day enough people know about craniofacial differences, and the thought of how others are going to react is no longer there.
Jameson has a fire in his spirit. At this point in his life he faces the awkward, and not always kind, encounters with a boldness that I hope never goes away. But I worry about the day that it gets to him. I worry about the day he has sadness in his heart from being picked on, singled out, or made fun of.
I’ve heard nothing but great reports about the inclusion program so far. I was told on day one of meeting their new class Jameson made new friends and ways playing with the other kids. When I asked him about his day and the new friends he made his eyes got wide and his face lit up! His smile grew from ear to ear and he told me he was excited to go back again the next day!! My heart did a cartwheel and I am just so happy to see him making his way!
I smiled to myself as I left his new school that Friday. His new school mascot is the Unicorn. That truly couldn’t be more fitting for Jameson. He is unique and rare with a magical spirit. I came across a meaning of the unicorn as one that opens us up to the infinite possibilities that are always there, but we may not always see; and the unicorn provides us the eyes to see and the wisdom to take advantage of those possibilities.
As I reflect on this month I am filled with gratitude, and hope. Jameson is our Unicorn. From the moment he came into our lives he began showing us a world we knew nothing about, he let us see so much we that we didn’t see before, and he shows us all the time the infinite possibilities that are there.
That’s why we feel strongly about spreading awareness. That’s why Craniofacial Acceptance means so much. Jameson, and all the other craniofacial kids out there are Unicorns. They are unique and rare, and can open your eyes and hearts to so much you didn’t see and feel before. They can show you that the possibilities in this life are truly endless.