Grace Walker Goad's North Star. Path 2008*
Sorting. Reveling. Contemplating. My daughter's graduation from the eighth grade. Forgive and indulge me one more post, Dear Readers. I cannot get over how Good it feels. It feels like an accomplishment. Each entry into each level of schooling for a child with a severe disAbility is typically met with Fear, Anxiety, Great Anticipation. Another set of Challenges, Hurdles with which we are faced.
We made it. We faced it. We lept over the Hurdle. My daughter strode alone -- first with the gentle, yet firm nudge of a typically developing peer -- across the gymnasium floor yesterday to receive her certificate. She clutched it and then as the first in the succession of eighth grade teachers held out their hand to shake hers, confused and conditioned, she tried to hand the certificate back. Her assistant explained later that they had conditioned her by frequently stating "give it back, Grace," when she frequently grabbed, childlike, something that did not belong to her.
Repeatedly, I've thumbed to that image in my digital camera of that tall model-like teen, nearly 15, fast clipping across the high-waxed floor. Who is she? She's a reflection of the earnest, hard work she's put into 12 years of schooling that began with early intervention as a toddler. She's a reflection of the Village that nurtured her inside and outside of school. She's a glimpse at the future to come. A young, emerging woman entering high school who will someday merge into a future of Great Dreams and of Big Unknowns. And there. Is. Where. My. FEAR. Can rush in.
But. I won't let it gush over the threshold. Instead I slam and triple bolt that door because peering into the Abyss of the Unknown leads nowhere except to the Doctor for Xanax. Instead, as I have done these 12 years, I cope by paving a path to that door of future adulthood with elbow grease, networking, research and planning. And, keeping my eye on Grace's North Star.
Every now and then it becomes easy to forget to look up and hold in my mind's eye and to clutch in my heart that Vision and Dream of All She Can Become. The day to day can cause me to stumble. The realities that remind me of the rough road beneath us. Yesterday she reached for that certificate, but soaked the bedsheets before she arose that morning. Deep breath. And Believing: All Will Be Overcome. This is Our Life. One. Step. At. A.Time. Believe. And Know. I Do.
*This is Grace's North Star from her second PATH (Planning Tomorrow's With Hope.) I'll write about PATHs someday. They are a one to two-year plan with members of her team (not just school) to project into the future and plan backwards realistically actualize one's goals and dreams.