Thin Places

Thin Places

New School! New Friends!

IMG_5009.JPGPenny’s last day of school was last Thursday. In typical over-the-top fashion, her teachers put together a family picnic complete with food and drink in a shady spot and a variety of games. Penny’s
favorite event was the sack race (especially, per the photo, the part where her
dad picked her up and took her over the finish line). She loved chasing her
parents as we pretended to be bunnies. She was not that big a fan of the piñata.
And she didn’t understand why we–her parents, yes, both of us, and all her
teachers–were crying at the end of it all.


She’s got a great attitude. “New school! New friends!”
(Note: she never says, “New teachers,” so perhaps she has decided that they are
coming with her.) I am having a harder time with the transition.

On one level, I know that I would be sad about leaving Penny’s
school under any circumstances. But the fact that she has Down syndrome
contributes to my sense of loss. I realized, as I thought about why I was so
upset, that I’m not just sad to leave the school. I’m also afraid of what’s

Of course I hope that Penny’s new school–the teachers, the
administrators, the therapists, the students, the other parents–will be just as
inclusive as those at her old school. But it isn’t a guarantee. No one at Penny’s old school ever talked about her
in general terms. No one ever said, “Well, kids with Downs…” They always
referenced her as an individual. An individual with disabilities, yes, and they
referenced their training with kids with disabilities. But they didn’t see her
as a part of a category first and as her own little person second. Rather, it
was the other way around. And when people see Penny as Penny, and only then as
a child with Down syndrome, it allows her to be who she is rather than fit into
a set of expectations for kids “like her.”


So I’m thankful for the team of people who believed in our
daughter and who have allowed her to be who she is–a little girl who tells
knock knock jokes without a punchline, who couldn’t care less about winning a
competition, who loves to pretend to be the teacher during speech therapy.

In the end, I trust that Penny will speak for herself, and
will be known for who she is in this new school. I’m trying to follow her lead.
“New school! New friends!”

Comments read comments(3)
post a comment
Sr. Dorcee

posted June 24, 2010 at 1:37 pm

I love this picture of Penny. She is a beautiful girl!

report abuse

Pingback: Public Schools and Our Kids | Thin Places

Pingback: Public Schools and Our Kids

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

More blogs to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Thin Places. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here is another blogs you may also enjoy: Simple Life Happy Reading!!! ...

posted 5:03:55pm Jul. 05, 2012 | read full post »

Why Do I Believe the Resurrection Matters?
In yesterday's post, I shared why I believe the resurrection happened. But I also want to explain why I believe the resurrection makes a difference--in the world and in my life. Christians believe that the resurrection proves that Jesus was ...

posted 9:04:24am Apr. 26, 2011 | read full post »

Why Do I Believe in the Resurrection?
For me, the truth of Christianity hinges upon the reality of the resurrection. There are Christians who think that the resurrection is just a metaphor for the work that God can do in our lives. But I'm with Paul, who I think speaks for the early ...

posted 9:00:46am Apr. 25, 2011 | read full post »

This blog is no longer active
This blog is no longer being actively updated. Please feel free to browse the archives or: Read our most popular inspiration blog See our most popular inspirational video Take our most popular quiz ...

posted 10:25:20am Apr. 04, 2011 | read full post »

It's Always Good to Laugh
I've written before that I gave up praying for patience and instead I pray for laughter in our family. Similarly, sometimes we need a little laughter in the church family too. Recently, the blogosphere has been alight with discussion of Rob ...

posted 11:11:38am Apr. 01, 2011 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.