Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Veteran's Day

I love Veteran's Day. It's one of the few pure holidays we have left. It's not commercialized.  It hasn't become synonymous with cookouts or cards or even a day off work.  It's simply a time set aside to say thank you to those who have fought to protect our freedoms.

5 years ago, Veteran's Day took on another meaning for me.  It was Brennan's arrival day.  I don't mean his birthday.  I mean it was the day his personality arrived.

On Veteran's Day in 2011, B was 3 years old. He had just started PPCD (preschool for children with disabilities).  I remember sobbing in teacher inservice being worried about how B was going to adjust to school.  He had been testing in May to qualify for PPCD and we had experienced our first ARD (a special education meeting, it stands for Admission, Review, Dismissal.).

At the time of his testing and ARD, B had, maybe 3 words.  I was getting hit in the back of the head with sippy cups a lot during this time.  He was so frustrated that he could not communicate with us. There was a lot of crying, by everyone. I honestly don't remember much about his personality at this stage.  I do remember that he was very hard headed.  We had a speech pathologist that came to the house to work with him. He did not like her.  He would not cooperate with her at all.  It got so bad that she called for reinforcements...a behavioral therapist.  He worked with her a little better but was still not making much progress.

That summer, though, he had an explosion of language.  We couldn't understand a lot of it but he was talking.  I can remember his pre-k teacher telling me, "This is not the kid we thought we were going to get. He's so much different that his testing."

He was so small and sickly.  He actually missed his first day of school with strep. He had already had pneumonia 3 times.  That summer he contracted mono after one group therapy session. I was so worried about him going to school and being around all those germs.  I made my students use Germ-X before they entered my room so I could kill as many germs as possible before I took them home to B.

Every Veteran's Day, the high school hosts a program.  They invite local vets, the pre-k kids sing, some other students perform and they have a speaker.  I knew B was going to perform but I wasn't expecting much.  I hadn't even told my mom about the performance and I didn't think to ask Ryan to attend.  My brother in law is a veteran and my niece was also performing so he and my sister in law were in the audience.

I still can not get over what we saw that day from B-man.  It was the first day his personality really shone through.  He tried his best to sing the songs.  He won over the crowd immediately. You'll notice in the video that there's a woman behind him on the stage.  That's one of the aides for his class. His teachers weren't even sure that he would do.  You'll also notice that the camera shakes during the performance.  That's me, I'm crying.  I was so thrilled that B seemed to be enjoying himself and engaging with the world around him.  It was a sneak peak at his awesome little personality.  Our B-man had arrived!

No comments :