Through the years my daughter has been fortunate to have had some wonderful paras. They not only provided her with the support she needed academically but with the emotional support as well. They learned what worked and didn’t work for my daughter and capitalized on it.
Anxiety has a great hold over my daughter. It has always made her journey that much harder. It was much more difficult when she was younger. Going off to school most mornings was a hard fought battle. I was exhausted by the tine she finally got there. She was in a panic and the day had only just started.
There was one particular para in elementary school however that Kelsey latched on to. Suddenly she was looking forward to go to school to see Mrs. Sweeney. Mrs. Sweeney made her laugh. Mrs. Sweeney made her feel safe.
My daughter and Mrs. Sweeney became good buddies as the year progressed. This para was such a motivator and positive role model for her. She taught her how to work and have fun at the same time. School really wasn’t a bad place.
When my daughter moved on to the next grade with a new teacher and para Mrs. Sweeney remained a big part of her life. There were unexpected emails all in pink checking in to see how things were going. There were Valentine’s Day cards in the mail always full of sparkles and glitter. And there was always a Christmas gift. For many years she would receive an ornament to hang on the tree. Each year Kelsey would find a special place on the tree to hang Mrs. Sweeney’s ornaments.
This year as we were decorating the tree and putting up Mrs. Sweeney’s ornaments I was reminded the difference one person can make in the life of our children. The journey is hard and not asked for. Perhaps though we are the lucky ones. Lucky to know firsthand what kindness is. Lucky to have met Mrs. Sweeney and so many others that have made a difference.