Sunday, August 9, 2015

Hello friend, It's been a long time...AND we're headed to kindergarten

It's been more than a year since I have written. I've heard from many of you encouraging me to continue and I'm flattered and thankful that something I enjoy means something to others. Looking back I know my writing tapered off when I got pregnant with Kensi and we are, as she nears 1 year old, coming out of the fog that is having two children.

So in a very quick recap. Cooper is almost 6 years old and about to start kindergarten. Kensi will be 1 year old on Labor Day. We now living in Maryland, where we have started the next chapter of our journey. Price is in development revue for the county we live and I'm doing marketing and communications for an independent school.

We are just weeks away from day one of kindergarten. It's hard to believe because not so long ago I remember my first days at Partners In Learning, leaving my 8-week-old baby boy and now we are headed to kindergarten. I'm both excited and terrified all at the same time.

Let me first say how excited we are about the amazing team at Cooper's elementary school. We could not be more pleased with their approach to his transition and education. But still, it's a big step and so the planner and worrier in me is nervous.

Tonight I realized the juxtaposition of my feelings. On the one hand my head realizes that he should and needs to experience all the things kids go through. The happy and exciting aspects of the first day of school, the THRILL of riding a school bus, the fun of art, music and PE, and of course recess! In order to become a well-rounded adult, who has the skills to live independently, he must also go through disappointment, heart-ache, teasing, and the like in order to learn the skills to deal with such events. My head understands this.

My heart on the other hand still (irrationally) wants to put a bubble around both of my children and protect them forever from everything that could ever hurt them. Elizabeth Stone said it wisely: "Making the decision to have a child - it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ” After all, it's pretty human to simply want to protect your heart, right?

And so in three weeks my sweet, sometimes stubborn, silly, smart, child will march into kindergarten (unless he refuses to walk ;). I can guarantee you he will do things all children do and probably somethings for the history books. And I know that he will learn and grow. He will no doubt win the hearts of many and, as always, teach as much as he learns and give as much as he gets.

Three weeks and counting. Here's to the next journey. My head is very excited. My heart is cautiously optimistic. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Buddy Walk 2014

 Our 2014 Buddy Walk page is now live! 

Click here to visit Cooper's Buddy Walk Page

The Buddy Walk is an opportunity for anyone and everyone to walk -- or support a walker -- and raise funds for the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte and the National Down Syndrome Society. 
How far we walk is not as important as why we are walking, and how much we'll make a difference in the lives of all individuals with Down syndrome and their families. 
We walk to make this world a kinder place and to teach this and the next generation that all life is valuable and that all people are to be treated with respect. We walk to show the world that Cooper is more like his peers than different. We walk in recognition of all the lives he has already touched and will touch. And most of all, we walk because to celebrate how blessed our lives are. 
Last year, more than $12.1 million dollars was raised by more than 305,000 Buddy Walk participants worldwide. Your support for the Buddy Walk, either by walking with me or by making a donation, will help honor and celebrate people with Down syndrome.

2013 Coopie Inc. Buddy Walk Team

2012 Coopie Inc. Buddy Walk Team

2011 Coopie Inc. Buddy Walk Team

2010 Coopie Inc. Buddy Walk Team
Top Newborn Fundraiser...Go Coopie!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Why Quality Childcare is So Important

It's always nice to have the opportunity to share your story. I've been lucky to have had the chance to write about our journey a good bit. Most recently I had the opportunity to share the story of why quality childcare is so important for all children, but especially children with special needs. Check out page 40 of the NCaeyc Milestone Magazine.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Why Is Today Meaningful

When I see your face
There's not a thing that I would change
Cause you're amazing
Just the way you are.
And when you smile
The whole world stops and stares for a while
Cause you're amazing
Just the way you are.
-Bruno Mars
As we celebrate World Down Syndrome Day, whether you are wearing lots of socks or jeans to honor the day, know that your gesture is meaningful. Think about the world fifty years ago or event twenty. It was not today's world of inclusion, acceptance, and growing programs for individuals with disabilities, but rather a world of limitations and low expectations.

Sometimes raising awareness is more important than raising money for research. Days like today help create a more accepting world of peers for my child. These will be peers who are not only kind and accepting, but understand that Cooper is a capable individual who has much to offer. 

Four and a half years ago, when I met Cooper for the first time and those two words -- Down syndrome -- were first uttered, changing my life forever, I never imagined the life I have today. I have a place where I work with 30 colleagues around more than 170 children all who will wear jeans in honor of the day. My child goes to a childcare center where the teachers, staff, children, therapists, and parents all join in making the statement that today is important. I have a child who has strengthened my faith, shown me I am stronger than I ever imagined, taught me that you can not control and plan everything in life and that it still turns out okay, and who ultimately helps me be a better me. 

I am grateful for this journey. It is a blessed one that is mostly filled with joy, but not always an easy one. It has taught me the true value of a support system. I am grateful for a husband who has walked beside on this journey me from day one. I am grateful for family, friends, and colleagues who support us. And I am grateful that God chose this amazing child for our lives. 

Thank you for celebrating with us today.