Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Highly Capable

At the back-to-school night at Annie's school, a little girl who remembered Annie from last year came up to say hello, and then looked up at me and asked, "Is she going into the 'highly capable' class this year?"

I couldn't help but smile at that innocent question. Then I said, "Aahh, close." Not exactly 'highly capable', I thought, but close.

Her mom steered her away from Annie and said, "She is going to a classroom that's just perfect for her, because she is just right the way she is." Hmm, I thought. That's a kind thing to say, but not quite accurate, either.

As I wheeled Annie down the hallway filled with kids walking hand in hand with their parents, my mind drifted back to the Annie who knew where all the states fit in her United States puzzle, and could tell me which aunt or uncle lived in which state....the Annie who memorized scripture that corresponded to each letter of the alphabet, but never made it past "M is for My grace is sufficient for you." And the Annie who loved to sing:

Shout to the North and the South,
sing to the East and the West,
Jesus is Savior to all,
Lord of heaven and earth!

As I turned the corner into Annie's Lifeskills classroom, my mind snapped back to our current reality of hanging with the kids whose bodies and brains fight against all their best efforts to be "normal." In Miss Amanda's cheerfully decorated classroom this year will be kids in wheelchairs, kids with autism, and kids like Annie who have 3 or 4 different diagnoses. It will be a motley crew. But also in this classroom will be a young teacher who has dedicated her life to drawing out of these little minds moments of understanding, and new skills achieved after months and months of painstaking repetition. And with her will be the same team of para-educators from last year--committed professionals who find working with these kids to be a fulfilling and rewarding vocation.

No, Annie is no longer the "highly capable" little girl of my memory. All of her successes and achievements are now measured in tiny increments, not great leaps. And I know it will take months and months of painstaking repetition for me to change my definition of success.


M is for My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9


Anonymous said...

Dear sweet Sullivans:

I love and admire you more than words can begin to express. You are so honoring to our one and only true God. In my own weakness, I would change your situation in a fraction of an instant if I could; but I I will keep praying.

Thank you so much for sharing. God bless you and the rest of the hands on people in Annie's life.


Terri W

Gretchen said...

You leave me speechless, my friend. Hugs and prayers as always, and what a kickin' good picture of a new grandma and her bundle of joy.

Jean said...

Well, you know, Terri & Gretchen--it's your prayers & support that keep this boat afloat. I'm not wonder woman--I am a recipient of daily answered prayer!

And, yes--Irene is the cutest grand-daughter in the whole world. BTW--Rebecca--that website for grandma/pa names is cool. 2 Thumbs Up.

aunt rebecca said...

A is for Annie and Andy and miss Amanda and All the folks I forgot to include in this list :-)
B is for Bill and Beth, OT
C is for Cris
D is for Dad and David
E is for "Early will I seek Thee"
F is for uncle F Dan (his internet moniker)
G is for Grandmommy and Gretchen, Good friend
H is for Heavenly Sunshine and the Hummingbird at the feeder outside my window today
I is for Irene, new cousin
J is for JESUS and Jean and Jack and uncle Jeff
K is for Kate and Kim, Kind friend
L is for LORD and Love and uncle Larry
M is for Mommy, Mercy and aunt Marilyn
N is for Nicole
O is for Olivia
P is for Peter and Poppy
Q is for Questions we don’t know the answer to
R is for aunt Rebecca
S is for aunt Susie
T is for Taylor and Tracy and Terri- Terrific friends
U is for Umbrella – a northwest necessity and “Underneath are the everlasting arms”
V is for Victory in Jesus
W is for
“Who forgives all your iniquities
Who heals all your diseases
Who redeems your life from destruction
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies
Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagles.”
X is for “eXamine yourselves ;-) as to whether you are in the faith”
Y is for “You are my trust from my Youth”
Z is for “ be Zealous for the fear of the LORD all the day.”


Andrea Frazer - Pass the Zoloft said...

P is for publication! Let's see if we can find some way to have you submit your stuff some place. R is for rejection - it's never easy. But G is for Gretchen who is a friend of mine. And I'd do anything for her. So email when you're ready.


Andrea Frazer - Pass the Zoloft said...

Woops - the old link is not good. Here is where I write now.


Andrea Frazer - Pass the Zoloft said...

Gosh darnit... it's

Sorry about that! Blogger is taking over!

Jean said...

Thanks, Andrea--I feel your editing.


Jean Sullivan said...

I am up to my eyeballs in Annie who won't sleep, and Irene who keeps her mommy up too! Anyway--thanks, Rebecca for that post--I was holding Irene while Cris napped this morning, and reading your post on my blackberry, and crying. Thanks ALOT.

Andrea--I'll e-mail you--thanks for your input, and ideas. I need them!


uncle jeff said...

andrea, you are so correct. and jean, you look so comfortable holding baby irene:) it's like,, it's like you've done that before... hmmm, maybe only SEVEN TIMES!!!

annie, it's ok. that baby has another home and her very own mommy and daddy:)

lord, thanks for this family!

Anonymous said...

Oh Jean, How you touch the hearts of many as you share your life and the life of Annie with all of us. And how God is ever present no matter what state we are in. Much Love to you. It was good seeing you on Saturday!

Cindy Nelson