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Nathan is Hebrew and means "gift from God" - we couldn't have been more blessed than to have been chosen as his parents!

Thank you for keeping up-to-date with Nathan. We hope you visit often and enjoy experiencing our son's journey as much as we do. Please feel free to leave comments.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Bidding Farewell To Our Angels of Hope

Nathan officially "aged out" of Early Intervention in August, and when we made the decision to send Nathan to Preschool, we had to say good-bye to Nathan's A-Team.  It was one of the saddest days I've had in years and even after several months, writing this brings tears to my eyes.

For the first-time, I'm going to introduce them to you. 

Miss Dale
 This is Miss Dale, Nathan's Special Education teacher.  Dale began working with Nathan when he was about 8-months old (I think) and she and Nathan had loads of fun learning how to play. It's hard to process sometimes, that Nathan had to be taught how to play, but he did and still does.  Most children know instinctively how to play with toys, but Nathan needs more help in understand how things work and Dale made that happen. Dale would bring farm animals, dinosaurs, and loads of other fund toys.  Dale has a sweet disposition and Nathan just loved her. When Nathan began toddler school, Dale would provide special education there, so he would have a familiar face and friend in the classroom.  Plus, with Dale there, she was able to provide insight and guidance to Nathan's teachers, so they could support him and their efforts. 

Dale recently came to visit Nathan at his new school and it took him a few minutes to remember her, but when he did all he wanted to do was hug her!  He didn't want to let go.  Broke my heart to see how much he missed her.   
Miss Kathi
 This is Miss Kathi, Nathan's Speech Therapist.  Although, Nathan has had speech since he was 5-weeks old, Kathi didn't come to our family until Nathan was a little older, because we had to switch therapists.  When you're trying to teach little ones language skills, you have to be over dramatic and that's what I'll remember about her sessions with Nathan ~ the fun and fiery exaggerations of words and play.  Nathan loved it! Kathi was animated and so fun!  Kathi used play as her primary mechanism of teaching Nathan language skills ~ both verbal and sign.  She also was instrumental in helping Nathan with drinking, eating, and self-feeding skills.  Kathi has a kind disposition, a caring heart, and always offered words of wisdom and inspiration.  She still does.   

Miss Kim
 Miss Kim was Nathan's physical therapist and with him since he was 5-weeks old.  Kim was a part of our family and saying good bye to her was unbelievably difficult.  Kim can be summed up in one word ~ sweet. Nathan just loved Kim and when he did begin to verbalize, her name was the first he said.   Like all of his therapists, Kim used play as a means of building Nathan's muscle strength.  One of the things I'll remember about Kim's sessions was that she was like a big kid and really got into her work.  I loved listening to them laugh and play ~ crawling through tunnels, jumping, stepping on fun blocks, bowling, throwing balls, and so much more.  I'll also never forget that the toys and things Kim brought to each session probably weighed more than she did! 

Today, Kim is expecting her third child and we wish her nothing but the best.  She's an amazing therapist, person, and mother.  We certainly miss her constant presence in our lives.

Miss Laurie
Miss Laurie was Nathan's Occupational Therapist and she began working with Nathan when he was about a year old. She worked on skills like coloring, cutting, eating, and all sorts of fine and gross motor skills. She would bring all sorts of fun stuff to play with too and she and Nathan made all sorts of fun projects. She also reinforced the goals of the other therapists while accomplishing her own objectives. They'd sing songs, ride on fun scooter toys, and swing around in make-shift hammocks.  What I'll remember most about Laurie, is that she was as tough and no nonsense as she was upbeat and fun.  When Nathan didn't want to do something because it was hard, she pushed him through it. I liked that.  She knew he could do it or at least thought he should try.  What I valued most about her approach was that she didn't see Nathan's disability as an excuse to not do something, but as an obstacle that could be overcome. Laurie and I are a lot alike, which doesn't surprise me because we also share a birthday.  Happy Birthday Laurie!

I knew this day would come and we'd be forced to say good bye. I agonized for about two years over what I'd give them when this day would eventually come.  I wanted to leave them with something that would remind them of Nathan and the love they gave him, the hope they gave us, and honored their dedication to all children facing such obstacles in their lives.  

We bought each of them a Pandora bracelet with an Angel of Hope charm.  We hope that each time they look at it, they'll be reminded of the "hope" that each life brings and of the "hope" that families such as ours desperately need. Each child with a disability has something to offer the world and it's our "hope" that the world recognizes it and embraces our children.  Well, that's my hope anyway. 

Kathi, Laurie, Dale, and Kim ~ We miss and love you.  Thank you for being who you are and choosing to help children like Nathan, that face major obstacles and challenges everyday.   Some people just know how to be mothers, others, like myself who have children with special needs, have a lot to learn.  Thank you for helping me do everything in my power for Nathan at such a young age, and for your unconditional love and support.  I am forever grateful and indebted to you. xxoo