Does anyone else cry when they look through yearbooks?
I was sitting in my living room this morning crying like a baby. My youngest son, Jacob, has given me his 6th grade yearbook to flip through.
Jake: Mom! Are you crying? You are so weird!
Me: Never mind – get me a Kleenex – some day you will understand!
As I thumb through the pages I see this amazing kaleidoscope of kids – brown, black, white, Asian. Big smiles, uncomfortable smirks, all mugging for the camera.
Jake: Oh, there is that one teacher that has the limp – she is so nice!
Me: Isn’t that Mr. So-and-so – didn’t he play the guitar at the Christmas concert?
Then I turn to the 8th grade section where parents have submitted baby pictures and written congratulatory notes to students that are moving onto high school and it is all over.
Here come the waterworks:
“You are a talented pianist and a determined swimmer. We are very proud of your achievements both in and out of school. Wish you success in I.B!”
“A wish for Kira/Each day sparkles/Full of bling/Haikus are hard/ really”
“Keep working hard and using your time wisely. Best wishes and duas always, Nani Ammi, Mumma, Mummy and Imaan”
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction that you choose! Much love Mom & Dad”
The pictures and the comments are as varied as the kids themselves. And I LOVE this. Diversity. Ability. Inclusion. Future rocket scientists and rock stars all in one big fantastic mess. Each kid has a certain ‘themness’ that only they can possess.
I don’t know about you, but as a parent of a child with or without special needs this gives me so much hope. Our kids are unique individuals that are full of promise and potential; just like flowers in a garden they only need to be themselves to add to the beauty of the whole bunch.
Like a rose, some of them are prickly and need a lot of attention. It feels like you are constantly pruning, watering and protecting them. Their growth is slower and sometimes you wonder if they will ever bloom. Next to them is the day lily child. Plunk that kid down anywhere and they will take off! They live for the sun, but can withstand the rain. They grow fast and showy and you’re often hustling to keep them in check and stop them from over taking the rest of the plants in your garden.
Anyways, you get the idea. I won’t belabor the point and bore you with endless horticultural examples (although I do have an excellent impatiens analogy that I’m happy to chat about).
The point is, ALL of our children, (disabled or not), can grow and thrive given the right conditions.
So talk to me. Do you have a special flower that you are nurturing? If you had to write a blurb for their yearbook what would it say? I’ve got my Kleenex ready and I can’t wait to read your comments.
Until next time,
Colleen Berlingieri is a Mom, & Disability Advocate . She lives in Plymouth Michigan with her husband Tony, her two sons, (Geo & Jake ), & their rescue dog Andi. Their family owns the FATWHEELS brand that makes adaptive training wheels that enable individuals with balance issues to ride a typical bike. Colleen’s dedication to raising her family & empowering individuals with disabilities is her life’s work and the driving force behind her company & all that she does.