Monday, October 4, 2010

Community 31 for 21 Day 4

It feels like it has taken me longer than most but we have finally found our community.  We have found our little niche in the world and are getting more and more comfy every day.  We have made a few stops in neighborhoods we like but I think we have finally found a place to stay for the long haul. 

Technically I've been an adult for a long time but I've never really felt like a real grown up.  During college I played grown up.  I had a job and an apartment even brought home a husband.  It really never felt like we were real grown ups though.  Even after having kids it always felt like we were going thru the motions.  I mean we had grown up jobs and bills but it never felt like we really belonged any where. 

After Riley was born with Down syndrome we had the Guild School.  That was where we belonged at that moment but it wasn't long term.  Riley and I made a presentation for the Guild School at All Saints this morning and while this topic has been on my mind lately it all made sense as we were visiting today.  When Riley was born and we were scared and still learning about Down syndrome the Guild School was our life jacket.  We were bobbing around not sure exactly which direction to swim and the services we received for Riley and the support our family received were amazing.  At times Riley's therapists  were more my therapists that Riley's.  I am proud to call these women friends now and even though its been almost a full year since Riley graduated they are still part of our lives.  This is a neighborhood that we needed to visit but not a place to settle. 

Over the three years that Riley received services through the Guild School we were moving though our lives and it was during that time that Rex started kindergarten at All Saints Catholic School.  Little did we know that this decision would really help us find our community.  Rex started kindergarten and while I'm catholic I wasn't totally committed to a Catholic education.  I knew it was less expensive to pay tuition for an all day kindergarten program than to go to half day public school and find child care for the afternoon.  How silly is that!  So Rex went off to kindergarten and had an amazing year.  He started the year in tears because he was so nervous but as the year progressed he quickly made friends and fell in love with his teacher Mrs Theilman.  Justin and I didn't invest much time at school.  We weren't so sure he would attend 1st grade there and didn't put out a lot of effort to make friends with the other parents.  I had decided that if Rex was going to go to Catholic school I'd better do my part and make sure he made it to church every week too.  So off we went every Sunday to mass.  Each week,  we would go and I'd wrestle with Riley and silently plea that he'd be quiet and not draw too much attention us.  The year passed we continued to go through the motions and while we talked a good game we didn't put much out much effort in making this our world. 

Well it was time to make a decision on where to send Rex for 1st grade and we again decided to send him to All Saints.  He'd had such a successful kindergarten year and he was so shy in new situations we didn't want to move him just to move him and we knew the next year would bring changes and decisions as Riley graduated from the Guild School and moved into the public school system for preschool.  Rex was in the same class with many of his buddies and the new school year brought a social calendar of birthday parties that I couldn't believe.  We have been every where from a back yard BBQ to Jump and Bounce  and a Disco party.  I slowly started to be more and more brave and tried to meet some of the other moms at these parties.  Well I hit the jackpot at one of these parties and met Amy, Colin's mom.  Colin is in the 2nd grade with Rex and has CP.  Possibly I knew who she was from all those Sundays sitting in the back of the church.  While Colin is a pretty cute kid with an incredible smile he is the #2 son in a family of 4.  He possibly has 2 of the cutest little sisters ever and the little girls with the matching outfits and the cute hair bows are who I noticed as I sat in the back and wrestled with Riley each week.   Amy and I struck up a friendship and now when we go to church we have friends that understand  busy kids, second grade boys and special needs kids.  As it turns out when you get to be friends with one family at church you suddenly makes lots of friends at church.  Its amazing when you stay for coffee and donuts after mass that you actually meet some of the people that you see week after week. 

The last year rolled by super fast and we were again making decisions about school.  Do we keep Rex in Catholic school? Do we keep Riley at the school he started in November or do we move him to a class that has typical peers for  him to learn from?  Well we opted to keep both boys right where they were since they were both thriving.  Being part of the St Peters and All Saints Community did offer up some new options for us this fall that I don't believe we would have had available to us had we not made this church and school our home base.  Well remember how I had met Amy all those months ago well it turns out that she is a teacher and she was offered the position as a 3 year old preschool teacher at All Saints.  We were visiting one night and she was talking about how when Colin was younger he went to preschool at All Saints in the morning and then in the afternoon he went to the public school preschool where he received the services that he needed.  HMM that got the wheels moving and so I decided to email the principal and see if that would be an option for Riley.  There was a wait list for the preschool but if there was an opening Riley could attend. Just a few days before school started I got the call that a spot opened up for Riley and the more I thought about it the more I knew this would be a great place for Riley to be.  Amy was totally open to having Riley in her class and giving it a try.  When I put Riley on the wait list I may have failed to mention that he wasn't potty trained.  Well that presented a little hiccup but after agreeing to have our babysitter stay at school with Riley and take care of any potty issues and help out as needed Riley had a spot.  As it turns out Riley is only with Amy part of the day but the teacher he does have, Miss Janna,  has a back ground in special ed.  Riley is blessed to spend Tuesday and Thursday morning with Miss Jana and Miss Amy.  Does it get better than having a special needs mom and a special education teacher for preschool in the morning before heading off to special education preschool in the afternoon to work with your speech, OT and PT and another amazing teacher. 

So this morning as Riley and I visited All Saints its a very safe and comfortable place for our family.  Riley still wrestles with me every Sunday but he also sings a long to the hymns and has made friends with most of the Gramma's there.  Rex is having huge success at school.  He is surrounded by friends, scouts and teachers that love and care for him.  A few years ago he would barely talk to an adult that he didn't know and just yesterday he cruised through the neighborhood with his scout friends and sold popcorn like a champ.  He was chatting up the popcorn like he'd been a brave chatty little boy all his life. 

I love that our family has found a community that allows my boys to feel safe and secure enough  to go out in the world and know they have a community of people that love and care for them standing behind them. 


  1. It is so totally awesome to watch kids as they blossom into their own and find their "home."

    One of my favorite posts yet!

    You know, I always love the posts on Facebook following a particularly interesting Sunday in church. ( ;

  2. I am so glad you are loving his preschool and that it all worked out. See, all that worrying for nothing : )

  3. I am so glad you have a good feeling!


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