May 18, 2010… This was a date placed on the ACCA school calendar months earlier – the last Chick-fil-A “spirit night” of the year. Lots of schools do this sort of thing – a percentage of the profits goes to the school – good for business – good for the school. Everybody wins.
But that Spirit night was different. My little girl was in a hospital room – still unable to sit or speak. Barely a month removed from our accident – the community was still reeling. A student named Kelsey asked the school board if they would donate the proceeds from the Chick-fil-A spirit night to our family. A small school event turned into a community-wide gathering as the Chick-fil-A operator hosted two locations (instead of the usual one) and both restaurants were packed for the night. It was a cool story. I wrote about it here.
Tuesday was ACCA’s first Chick-fil-A spirit night of the year. I couldn’t help but think of the contrasts. Anne was with us – sitting, eating, talking…conversing with people. She asked to see the “cow.” She asked for ice cream. She was with us. I knew WAY more people there than last time. I had relationships with so many families – because of Anne’s journey.
I’m thankful for this road God has led us down. So many heartaches – but they fade to memory in light of the many triumphs. We are so thankful. So. very. thankful.
I asked Anne’s special ed. teacher if I could share an email she sent me today. I was encouraged by what she wrote!
I wanted to let you know that I spent a little bit of time today with Anne in her classroom. And she did a great JOB!! With assistance in walking to the front where Ms. S was modeling how to write a sentence, Anne wrote the word go. With hand over hand assistance she did the g and independently when told to make a circle did the o. Then with assistance Anne answered two questions during calendar time: the name of her school and also one other question, which I forget. She was cued (and little bit of assistance) to raise her hand and then called on. Anne needs some reinforcements to not talk out (combination of the cue cards and some verbal reminders) But, she is making great progress. I was so proud of her. :)
Last week, her school physical therapist wrote me that Anne walked farther than she ever had before (with a walker and assistance for propulsion). So that’s awesome!! On Friday, her kindergarten teacher pulled me aside to encourage me that she thought Anne was doing really well in class.
Anne has made a great start to the school year. We continue to be both deeply grateful for what God has restored in Anne and humbly hopeful that He still has more healing to do. …Thankful for today and hopeful for tomorrow – that is a good place to be!
Thank you for your continued prayers!!! -kathryn
Today was Anne’s 7th birthday! I can’t believe my little Anne is 7!
Anne has been telling everyone all week that her birthday was coming up.. “My birthday is September 9th. I am turning seven!” Last year, she wasn’t able to express much emotion, and I remember wondering if she even realized it was her birthday… She’s come a long way over the past year!!!
I’m not very good at planning social events – so my kids’ birthday celebrations have always been more practical than extravagent :-) But I really wanted Anne to feel special today. The birthday festivities started at school. She had a large “Happy Birthday” sign on the back of her chair. I signed up to be the “Mystery Reader” for her class. I was impressed as Anne sat still and attended as I read her two favorite books to her class. I brought a special birthday treat for everyone, and after the kids finished, we all sang “Happy Birthday” to Anne. I wish I could have gotten a picture of her smile. It covered her whole face. She was radiant. When the class finished, she said, “Thank you everyone for singing Happy Birthday to me.” So sweet.
I invited some of her favorite girls to come over for a small dinner. Again, I was impressed when she tried to smile for the camera. Anne hasn’t quite learned how to smile on cue – but she was sure trying in this picture!
Kate had a good time helping Anne open all of her presents.
I think she felt special today. Happy Birthday Anne!!!!
Okay… Here goes :-) Can I just say that I’m SO thankful for special ed. services in this county???!!!! Anne’s teachers, case managers, therapists, assistants…. are all amazing and want what is best for Anne. Anne receives absolute top-notch services in a wonderfully nurturing environment. We are so thankful for Anne’s school and the people who work there.
My meeting at Anne’s school went GREAT! Her teacher had nothing but positive things to say about Anne… “She’s no more disruptive than some of the 5 year old boys we have in class.” Everyone seems to have compassion for Anne, and they all genuinely want to help her. All of their recommendations were spot-on. I could not be more pleased.
Academically she’s right on track with her class – and maybe just a little bit ahead in Language Arts. The fact that she has her short-term memory and can learn/retain new information is a miracle. She is loving school – just loving it.
On a different note, Anne is having seizures again – very different than the ones from last winter. Please pray that we would find the right combination of medication(s) to help control the seizures. THANK YOU for all your prayers. I think this is the beginning of a fantastic school year for Anne!!!
Well… Sweet Anne is having difficulty inhibiting her talking and frustration level in class – especially when she gets tired. It’s all understandable. I am meeting with several of Anne’s teachers and therapists on Friday to work out a strategy that is best for Anne.
Please pray that God would give everyone a flexible spirit and grant us all wisdom and clarity regarding Anne’s schedule and behavior strategies. I’ve already had a good conversation with Anne’s primary case manager and her para-pro. I’m encouraged that Anne is surrounded by advocates who truly want what is best for her!!!
Canon and Kate are also doing well… But Canon is struggling a little with not having “immediate” friends. I think he expected to be best friends with everyone in his class by the second day. He’s learning a good lesson about how to make friends – and I’m thankful he can learn in a safe environment. The kids in his class are super sweet, and I’m sure Canon will have plenty of friends soon :-)
It’s never boring around here!!! -kathryn
All three children start school on Monday. For the first time in nine years, I will have consistent time at home… ALONE! I’m very excited! We got to meet all of their teachers yesterday. I was overwhelmed with gratitude as it seems that God has hand-picked the perfect teachers for all three of them.
Anne will be in a general-ed kindergarten class. Her teacher is a former special-ed teacher and from what I hear, is extremely patient. That’s a good thing :-) Anne will share a para-pro with one other special-ed student, and the rest of her class are general ed children. If you would have told me a year ago, that Anne would be a member of a regular kindergarten class, I wouldn’t have believed you! Anne is still under the special-ed umbrella and will continue to receive tons of therapy at school, but she will spend the majority of her time in a typical kindergarten class. Let’s pray she does well!!
Canon and Kate are going to the same school that Anne attended when the accident happened, Atlanta Classical Christian Academy (ACCA). They are both very excited about their teachers. Since I’ve always home-schooled Canon, this will be the first year that he will attend regular school. He’s a little nervous, but I think he’s more excited. When we visited their school yesterday, we were approached by several families that have been praying for Anne since the accident. It’s such a comfort to enter such a supportive community of families at ACCA!
Please pray for Anne as she transitions to regular school. Pray that she will have an extra dose of stamina, so that she might not get over tired and frustrated. Also pray for one friend for Anne. Her greatest fear is that she would not have any friends. I think if she just had one friend, she would feel accepted…
Thank you! -kathryn
Lately, I’ve been thinking that Anne has made huge overall improvements – especially in the last month. In January of this year, I documented “Anne’s status quo” and listed everything she could do both physically and cognitively. Looking back at that post, Anne has made great strides… Continue reading
Today marks the first time Anne did ALL of her business in the potty. She told us every time she needed to go, and kept her pull-up dry all day. Woo-Hoo!!!! I can’t tell you how wonderful this is :-)
Anne continues to bring us so much joy… constantly making us laugh. As we were putting her to bed tonight, Eric said, “Anne, you are such a joy.” Anne replied, “Daddy, my name’s not Joy.”
Thank you Jesus for all that you have done to heal Anne both physically and spiritually. We are SO grateful!
I’ve noticed something new in Anne over the last three or four days. There seems to be a new light in Anne’s eyes… It’s hard to describe; her face just seems to have more expression. She laughs more and her eyes seem to hold more. Does that make sense?
She’s also saying things that absolutely crack me up. Sometimes I laugh so loud that I startle her, but she recovers quickly and joins in my laughter. Here are a few examples…
While eating breakfast…
Anne: What if there were a skunk in my cereal?
Me: Your cereal would be really stinky!
Anne: You’re not supposed to say stinky… that’s a bad word.
Me: Oh, I didn’t know that. I’m sorry.
Anne: Speaking of stinky, can I have some pepsi?
Later that morning…
Me: Anne, I don’t have anything to eat for breakfast, what should I eat?
Anne: What about oatmeal?
Me: We’re all out of oatmeal.
Anne: What about eggs?
Me: We ate all the eggs yesterday.
Anne: Hmmmm…. What about fried Anne?
I love this girl!
Anne’s self awareness is continuing to improve. And as a result, I feel like she’s sad a lot…
“I’m not good at anything Mommy.”
“I’m sorry I’m such a problem, Mommy.”
“God doesn’t love me, Mommy.”
Imagine how hard it would be to see your brother and sister run, laugh and play… without you. Especially when she was literally in the middle of their play before the accident. But Canon and Kate show Anne tremendous compassion. They are the first to encourage her when she becomes discouraged, and there’s nothing more wonderful than seeing your children encourage one another!
Kate just gave a “good report” about how well Anne did at the pool today… And then Canon piped in describing how great Anne did at speech therapy. I know God is bringing good out of our story… and it is especially encouraging to see His character so evident in my children!
So thankful :-)