Saturday, November 1, 2014
My baby girl turned 10 years old today. It's so hard for me to believe that I almost have a preteen. Words cannot begin to describe the love I have for my daughter. Yes, she is very strong-willed and she can bring out the worst in us as her parents, but she has so many great qualities that far outweigh her strong will. She is such a kind-hearted, compassionate child. She is artistically inclined. She is sensitive. She is beautiful, smart, and talented. She loves music and has a most angelic singing voice. She makes me proud.
Today is a day that I'll never forget. Not because it is a day of celebration (it is!) but because Jackie, once again, faced discrimination because of her disability. My heart hurts for my girl. However, I really hope that Jackie's strong will and determination will help her get through this latest situation. And I especially hope that the main person involved learned that just because somebody has a physical impairment, it doesn't necessarily mean that person also has an intellectual deficit or is incapable of being talented. Jackie is a very smart girl, a straight A student and she's becoming much more aware of others' responses toward her. She does limp and her weak left hand is becoming more obvious to others as they get to know her. She has cerebral palsy which was caused by a stroke. Some children with the same type of brain damage are more (much more) disabled than Jackie and others are much less disabled. Some children are intellectually impaired by their disability and yet others are left intellectually intact. Still, disability or no, everyone has a talent of some sort. Jackie's happens to be music. She has a true talent for singing. I'm not just saying that because I'm her mother. She truly is talented in that area.
Recently, Jackie had an opportunity to use her talent. She was so excited about this until today when her hopes and dreams were crushed and she was left out of this opportunity. Events leading up to today left me with the suspicion that it was because the director had this preconceived idea that Jackie was not capable of doing this without my help because of her disability. I don't want to give too many details about the group or who the director is because I respect this director. He really is a great guy. But after talking to the manager and accompanist, my fears were confirmed. I will forever appreciate these friends for going to bat for Jackie. They saw beyond her weaknesses and saw her true potential. However, just like so many others, this director has the wrong perception of others who have differences. It is my hope and prayer that after today's situation, Jackie was able to teach him to look beyond differences and to allow a chance in the future for children like Jackie to showcase their talents.
Unfortunately, Jackie being the smart girl that she is, has an idea of why she was treated differently from the other chorus members this morning. My heart hurt for her. I wanted to cry for her. This day started out being a terrible day for her. I felt awful that she went through all of that for naught. Now that the director has since been "educated" by his manager and accompanist, I hope that he changes his tune. Literally. I understand that he now wants Jackie to come back but at this point, Jackie was so sad and hurt this morning, she does not want to go back. It seems everyone else wants to see Jackie again but I think it's going to take some time for Jackie to recover before she will want to go back (if she ever wants to go back).
Thankfully, Jackie's day finally ended on a good note. Last weekend, her largest gift was a surprise trip to Great Wolf Lodge and waterpark. She was very surprised! She loved the gifts that she received today, including a folding lawn chair that she asked for a few days ago. Silly girl. For her birthday meal, she was treated to Peel wood-fired pizza restaurant. Then we came home and celebrated some more with ice-cream cake. We ended the night with snuggles.
Jackie is growing up so quickly and I want to cherish these sweet times like tonight. She truly is a treasure to us and we love her so. Happy Birthday, Sweet Girl!