Posted by: Hallie Levine | February 27, 2014

Today, I am grateful

Jo Jo turned six today.

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Her birthday always evokes a maelstrom of emotions for me, most bittersweet. It is hard for me to acknowledge that her birth was both the most wonderful and the most wrenching day of my life.

But today, when I walked into her bedroom and saw her lying on her bed, sunlight in her hair, watching her languidly stretch, I had to wonder what I was so afraid of six years ago. She blows me away with her loveliness.

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In no short order, all of the things I am grateful for.

I am grateful that she is learning to read. She knows all her upper case and lower case letters now, and all her letter sounds. She is beginning to recognize sight words. We fully expect her to be reading by the end of the year.

I am grateful that she is so beloved at school. I was apprehensive when she entered kindergarten. I didn’t know how the other kids would react. But when I see her walking down the hall, holding hands with two other little girls, when I hear about how her other classmates cheer when she stands up and answers a question, when I get emails from other moms saying their daughter is dying for a play date, I realize that inclusion really works. And it is a beautiful thing.

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I am grateful for swimming. She walks unsteadily still on land, but in water she is a little nymph, moving gracefully through the pool and I can only imagine how weightless and airy she feels.

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I am grateful for her team at school, who have pushed and encouraged her much farther than I even would. I am grateful for the school psychologist, who, after having done cognitive testing, said, “Don’t pay attention to the number. Jo Jo has so much more potential than that.”

I am grateful for her little brothers, who make a point of unwrapping her presents for her when she struggles with the wrapping and then tenderly hand her each gift like they are the Crown Jewels.

I am grateful for the Nutcracker, and Barbies, and Mommy-and-Daughter lunches at tea houses.

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Most of all, I am grateful for all the love constantly being bestowed on her. Today when I walked into school with her birthday cupcakes, she was hugging a baby doll, a gift from one of the school administrators. When I walked into her office to thank her, she said simply, “Thank you. We are just so lucky to have her here.”

She is beloved, she is adored, and most importantly, she is thriving.

Happy birthday, my darling.

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Responses

  1. Happy 6th birthday JoJo❤️❤️

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. What a beautiful story on Jo Jo! We love her too! She is a blessing for all of us to learn to be grateful! Happy Birthday Ms. Jo Jo!

  3. Happy Birthday to Jo Jo!!! I love that kindergarten has turned out to be a wonderful experience. I’m waffling so much on pushing for inclusion due to living in a place that doesn’t support it.
    Thank you Jo Jo for showing me possibilities!

  4. I just read your article. I just want to say your daughter is beautiful. And if anyone can be that gross and make those comments they are not worth taking up headspace. It is disturbing we live in a world with cruel people. I will tell you something my grandfather always said. “Take insults as compliments when it comes from the height of ignorance.” I wish you a beautiful day.


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