Friday, September 10, 2010

On A Personal Note

From the time Shawn was born and we were given his Down syndrome diagnosis, I have ached over his future. I don't wear this ache on my sleeve so much. It is more or less tucked neatly into my pocket. Occasionally I retrieve it in private, unfold it like a personal note, read it silently, wipe a tear, and return it to its tuck.

From about day 15 of his precious purposed life, I began the dream that Shawn would be included in a typical school, with typical peers, and only carried off with the specialists for one-on-one teaching when absolutely necessary. Afterall, Shawn was born a brother. An Asher Tater Tot already existed and he would surely lead his little brother, comfort his little brother, guide his little brother, and fiercely protect his little brother. They should go to school together.

My prayer was and is that Shawn would be enough of a challenge to help mold and shape his schoolmates to love and value on a deeper level, but not so much of a challenge that his school would appoint him to the **retarded wing and that the typical children would only see him drooling his food in the cafeteria, in the corner, waving to everyone as they pass by sneering at him.

It's pride. I know. And I'll repent for that as soon as I finish this blog post.

I was advised and even warned they may never go to school together. It might not be possible or it might not be in the best interest of Shawn.

A few weeks ago, without awakening my dream, without my nudging and without my orchestrating....Shawn was given a spot in the pre-k at Asher's school. Yes, a meeting had to occur and paperwork had to be signed......but the nudge came from someone other than me. The dream was on the back shelf getting dusty. And the orchestra was being conducted by a heavenly host of the Lord's angels. Only the Lord knows if and when this symphony will change its song. For now I'm sitting in the balcony listening to the very personal notes.


(**i hate this word. i used it for emphasis in expressing the ache a mother feels to know that her son will be viewed and potentially treated with ugliness)


Michelle Jeffcoat said...

Phillipians 1:6 " Being confident in this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus"
HOW awesome that God brought you Shawn, and Asher, and a dream, that he could carry out for you in his that you can see, and feel, and experience first hand his love for you.
XO Michelle J

Yvette A. said...

That's GREAT that Shawn can go to Pre-K with Asher! Shawn is so blessed that he has a loving family to encourage him - and to dream of great things for him.

I have been impacted greatly by four special people very much like like Shawn.

My brother and I used to co-manage two restaurants; and we had the pleasure of having four people with special needs who worked for us. We nicknamed them the 'Fantastic Four'. Their abilities varied quite a bit, but all of them had certain things in common. They were reliable, honest, eager to learn, wanted to be respected, and they VERY DEFINITELY wanted to be given the chance to prove how much they could do. Sadly, they all told us stories of other jobs where they were not allowed to do anything beyond the most menial of tasks.

We made allowances for their limitations; but gave them the same rules, rights, and expectations as the rest of the crew. We made it clear that they were to be treated exactly the same as the other crewmembers.

We did see some of the ugliness at times - but we saw something beautiful as well. Our 'Fantastic Four' were accepted. They made lasting friendships among the crew. And as they mastered new tasks, and were given more responsibilities, we saw another change take place. They began to gain more self-confidence. And it showed. They walked taller and prouder. They began to take on leadership roles - teaching the new hires, and two of them became team leaders.

Many members of our crew (us included) had never worked with "special needs" people before - and it was great to see them come away from the experience with a greater respect, and appreciation of people with disabilities.

So Melissa, don't give up on your dreams for Shawn. ANY OF THEM. He may or may not fulfill all of them - but then he'll probably create and fulfill some dreams of his own as well. What matters most is that he is encouraged to dream, and that he is given the chance to fly.

Melissa Irwin said...

thank you, Yvette....what a beautiful testimony to the potential and spirits of all people.