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!


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


Dear Tessa: “When I Grow Up…”


Dear Tessa,

Another year of school is in the books.  Yesterday was your last day of early childhood and 4K.  From a shaky start to the year to building new friendships to learning how to pedal a bike and sweeping up your IEP goals, you did not miss a beat this school year.  You had an amazing year, and your dad and I could not be more proud of you.   How could we not be?


The icing of the cake for your awesome year came when you received your very first birthday party invite from a friend at school this week.  A real, hand delivered birthday party invite from a friend with your name on it.  I don’t know who was more excited…me or you!  Alright you were definitely more excited.  I just cried when I watched your elation over the little pink invite…like a lot.

Obviously this week has been really emotional for your dear old mom.


On your final day of school, your 4K class had a program at school.  All three classes lined up in the gym and each child took a turn at the microphone introducing themselves and sharing what they wish to be when they grow up. Dad and I watched the kids before you, and we wondered what you would say or if you would say anything at all.  After all, there were a lot of people in the gym and I would have been nervous.  Not you, though.

“My name is Tessa. When I grow up, I want to be a teacher.”

Oh my heart…

You can hear me at the end, “Awww…” Deep breath.  Camera stopped.  If I did not fight back the urge to let those tears pour, it would have been a mess where we were sitting.

A teacher.  My dear, sweet Tessa what an a wonderful and appropriate goal you have.

To take all of your knowledge and all of your life experiences and to share it all with others.  To create and inspire.  To continue to learn and to share your heart.  That is exactly what a teacher is, and you are already a very good teacher.  You just don’t know it yet.

You took your dream and threw it out into the universe.  We heard you.  There is no doubt in my mind that you will make an excellent teacher…or astronaut…or chef…or mermaid princess or whatever it is you want to be. Because, you know, dreams change and that is okay too!

Promise me that you will keep dreaming.  Promise me that fear will not stop you; that obstacles will not stop you; that people won’t stop you.

Because you can do anything.

Tessa fly 2
We promise we will be there to nurture your dreams every step of the way.  We can’t wait to see where they take you!

When you are 18 and walking across that stage, about to collect your high school diploma, I will remember that day you grabbed the microphone and proudly proclaimed what you want to be when you grow up.  And I probably will not be able to fight the tears then.

Love, Mom…and Dad, too