Change: Part 1

You know those relationships that come into your life and change everything? Most of them time, it is just one person we think of.  But in my case, it is an entire team of people who have swooped into my heart and changed my way of thinking.  Last week, I had to make the decision to let them go. Not for lack of love.  Not for a lack of caring. But simply because we need to go where the wind is blowing us right now.

I am not a fan of change.  I do not usually adjust to it well.  Routine is good for me. It reassures me and keeps my busy mind focused on a daily plan.  This is where Tessa gets it from, huh?  

That is the really neat thing about life, you really never know what is going to come your way. When opportunity pops up, you can either take it or run from it. And I have learned that that decision is so much more than simply deciding to do one or the other; especially when we cannot guarantee that the decisions we make are the “right” ones.

I broke up with Tessa’s school last week. I can call it a breakup because it was painful and heartbreaking and I was a serious hot mess about it.  Plus every time I thought about it, I just wanted to cry. I held onto Tessa’s open-enrollment at her first school for as long as I could, but it was not until the superintendent called me early last week to chat that I finally broke down and told her the news.  We had a heartfelt conversation and she assured me that Tessa will be incredibly missed. I couldn’t even properly thank her for the chance to have attended such an amazing district without erupting into more tears. Shocker, I know… Luckily for my husband, the crying has finally stopped.

This probably looks and sounds so dramatic for a school change, but it just proves how meaningful the relationships we have built there really are.  We love this school so much; the staff, the students, the atmosphere, the values of the district…everything.  This team of people at her school set the bar so high and blew away my expectations.

Everything I was concerned may happen going into school, didn’t. They took her in as their own and treated us like family. They saw her full potential and pushed her to it; never suggesting that having Down syndrome may hold her back from certain things. Never.  Not once.  They have done so much for her and for me.  This is where she started. They changed a belief in me and ignited a flame in my heart to always push for my girl no matter what.

This team of her’s, so passionate about their roles, has shown us what the right mindset can do.  They constantly demonstrate what every child deserves in education. They see her as a child first over her diagnosis and they fiercely believe that she can achieve anything.  The power of their confidence in her has made such a positive impact on her life.  Because of these values, Tessa accomplished so much with them.  This is all we have ever wanted for our daughter’s education–belief of what she is capable of and the chance to see it through.

I could go on forever about her team of teachers, therapists, aides, etc.  I could preach about how incredible each of them has been, but I will just assume that by now that you get it.  So when I say this decision was incredibly difficult to make, I sincerely mean it.  I am guilty of taking advantage of how good we had it there; how fortunate we were to have had our daughter in great hands. Now that it is time to say goodbye, it is hitting me how much we will miss them.

Tessa will be starting at a new school this fall…because our family is moving (again, this is another post in the near future). Not far by any means, but back near my hometown which is just a few minutes away from where we are now.  I never really imagined that I would find myself there again, but I feel good about it.  It certainly helps that some of our friends and families and their kids are there as well.  We have already been so welcomed by the new school.  They understand that the transition may be hard for us, but they have reassured us that they have Tessa’s best interest in mind as well as we move forward with them.

While this change feels rough right now, I am incredibly fulfilled about the experience we had at Tessa’s first school and thankful for her team there.  I am also hopeful and optimistic about what is to come.

Here’s to a new school adventure–wish us luck!

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Just a few members of her team from this past year. Glad I snagged a few pictures on the last day of school.

Get Ready For Season 2: Born This Way

If you have not seen the hit A&E show Born This Way, then my friends, you are missing out.  But don’t worry because you can catch up and see all of the first season episodes here before season two premiers next Tuesday, July 26.

Born This Way is a captivating docuseries that shares the lives on seven young adults that have Down syndrome, and trust me it brings out all the feels– especially as a mom to a young daughter with Down syndrome. Each cast member is building independence and finding their own niche as they navigate adulthood, with the support of their parents.

Sean, a sports enthusiast and self-proclaimed ladies man, yearns to live on his own and find a girlfriend and/or wife.

Megan is a blossoming entrepreneur with a growing clothing line called Megology.  She and her mother live in Colorado, but Megan dreams of moving to Los Angeles without her mother.

Steven works inside a stadium for a major league baseball team. He has a less common form of Down syndrome known as mosaic Down syndrome.  Steven also longs for a girlfriend, but would maybe prefer to date someone who does not have a disability.

John is quite a character.  He dreams of debuting his first rap album with his single “Shake Your Booty, Booty” and trying for his drivers permit.

Elena lives in a group home setting, but still sees her parents regularly.  She sometimes struggles with her identity as a person with Down syndrome and relies on her friends to gain perspective.

Rachel is bubbly and sweet and quite possibly Adam Lambert’s biggest fan. She works at an insurance firm, and like the others, hopes to one day be in a loving relationship.

Cristina has been with her fiance Angel for five years.  He surprised her with a proposal in the first season and the two hope to live together independently soon enough.

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The group spends a considerable amount of time together at a Los Angeles based community center called Leaps ‘n Boundz.  The cast is like any group of young adults.  For example, Sean and Steven enjoy getting together for beers, Cristina is engaged to be married and they all enjoy hanging out with one another.  Each has their own set of goals and is on a fierce quest to reach them. Of course no group of friends would be complete without a dose of drama. One thing I have noticed is that the cast is quick to address any issues they may have with one another; something I find rather refreshing in a society where hostility is on the rise.

This is the same society that can often have stereotypical views and preconceived notions of those with Down syndrome.   Each cast member seeks to prove that their differences do not make them less of a contributor to our modern world.  In the word’s of Megan: “Don’t limit me…”

In pursuit of their own dreams, the show covers real life scenarios that each cast member faces like living independently, fostering relationships and generating income to support their passions.  Their parents also have a big role in the show.  They share their thoughts, stories from raising their children, the goals they have for their children and any fears or concerns they have as they send their kids into the real world while reluctantly loosening their grip.

I was able to get a sneak peak at the first two episodes of season two, and I must say that it looks even better than the first season.  The cast picks up right where they left off after season one. The first episode kicks off with a bit of drama at a red carpet ball, Sean makes a trip to Vegas, and Megan begins this season in Colorado running her very busy business alongside her mom. Check out the trailer for the upcoming season below, premiering this Tuesday, July 26 on A&E and share your thoughts in the comments section of my blog!

Don’t forget to tune in or set your DVRs to A&E on Tuesday, July 26 to catch the all new season of Born This Way at 10|9 c.