The Beautiful People
Today was supposed to be the first day that Claire got to go to her inclusion class for an hour to start the day. Unfortunately, her aide that was trained for it couldn't be there today so we postponed the start until Tuesday next week. Side note, this works out well because Captain Awesome and Miss Amazing completely forgot to set an alarm and woke up an hour late today. When we decided to postpone yesterday, we completely forgot to tell the new teacher, Mrs. J, oops! So this morning I get an email from her, asking where Claire was, understandable. She also added that she wanted to be notified so that she can not make extra copies for Claire on days she will miss, today it was one piece of paper. I have to admit I was a little irritated by this. I have a sort of full plate, sometimes I miss things, I am after all human. So I responded and explained what had happened and offered to stop by after school to pick up the missed activity. Claire was very excited to show me her new classroom, she is over the top excited about kindergarten! The teacher gave me the activity and explained it. I verified that really, really, Claire is planning to come to class on Tuesday. It was then that the teacher politely reminded me that Claire should arrive at 5 minutes before 8 and that she is very strict about students coming late as it is very disruptive. I have to admit, at first I was a little mad. I have to drive 15 minutes to get to school and traffic is randomly very heavy, adding an extra 10 minutes. Claire has to have her meds in the am, stretch, walk, eat and get dressed before leaving for school. It is a miracle we make it on time as often as we do, on average about once a week. I really felt like this teacher had no appreciation for all the stuff that I have to do for this little girl, just to keep her alive and sorta well. Then it dawned on me, Mrs. J is no different than I was 4 years ago, back when I had a healthy 1 year old little girl and no idea about people with disabilities. My next thought was one of those huge, mind bending thoughts, that really made my brain stretch. She is treating Claire like all of the other kids, isn't that what I want? With that, both my brain and my heart exploded. This is real inclusion. The teacher is putting the same expectations on Claire and her mom as she is the other students, what an honor. I guess I figured that I would always have to fight for Claire, that people suck and don't get it and that life would be an uphill battle. I am so deeply humbled as I stand corrected. As I have been soaking in this idea of respecting other people enough to assume that they are not being disrespectful or malicious, I was hit again. Mrs. J replied to an email that I had sent. I had written a letter to go to the new classmates and sent it for approval. Her response was that it brought her to tears and that she would send it home with the students. She also invited Claire along on a field trip that is being planned for December. The class is going to the children's discovery museum. There is a visiting exhibit called accessAbility. She wrote "The concept is that kids can get an experience of what it is like to live with a physical difference and explore the similarities and differences in the ways we each participate in the world in." All I can think to say is wow, I am truly blessed. Claire is surrounded by a lot of really beautiful people. Looks like with my whine and cheese, I'll be having a big helping of humble pie too!