My Little Professors
Last week, Hailey, Livy and I went to my sister Meaghon's classroom to share a presentation about our family. Meaghon teaches 7th and 8th grade students at the Safety Harbor Montessori Academy. We agreed that this would be a wonderful opportunity for us to go in to share our experiences and to talk about Livy's Hope.
Our family has presented to elementary aged children and families of children with special needs before but we had never spoken with middle school students. We weren't quite sure what to expect. It was a learning experience for us all.
I started by sharing some background information about Livy including what happened right after the girls were born, the diagnosis, the surgeries and where we are today. I looked into their faces and tried to see if they were following me and understanding all of the technical terms. The outline I had prepared was filled with details about day to day life, Livy's school, her therapies and information about her equipment. I showed them how Livy's MIC-KEY button works for her feedings. All in all, I was able to put a lot of words out there and I am sure some of them were absorbed. But it wasn't until Hailey began to speak and take over that it all really sunk in.
Here was my eight year old daughter completely engaged in the story. She spoke so easily and honestly about her feelings and about Livy. She told stories about Livy's therapies and how she is angry that they are denied by insurance because they are deemed "medically unnecessary". She explained how Livy's iPad works and how she uses a stander at home. Later she told them about how she helps Livy and how our family has tried to turn this all into a positive experience. I looked around the room and the kids were really engaged and listening to her. It was her words that kept their attention and made them think. She was just telling it like it was and it was perfect.
And then Livy was my other little professor. She sat there so peacefully taking it all in. Just her being there made for a learning experience. The students had time to see her and maybe understand her a little bit more. Just her presence was teaching a lesson. I hope she put the student's minds at ease and reminded them that she too was just a little girl, approachable and with purpose.
The students were all so respectful and asked great questions at the end of the presentation. Hailey particularly likes answering questions. I loved seeing her doing something she does so well, educating and sharing with others her experiences in life. I hear myself speaking through her and I know she is listening all the time to the things we say. I know she truly cares so deeply and is able to express those feelings in such an open and honest way.
We loved receiving the "Thank You" card from the students and to read their encouraging words. I hope they all walked away with a little something new and will now be able to share what they have learned as well. Sometimes it is the children that we learn from the most.
Just wonderful. You must be so very proud of Hailey. She is a unique little girl; as is Olivia. Bless you all.
Once again, the family "scheins" and Hailey is an exceptional and rare person. (But you all are.) She is a child
in number of years on earth, but certainly older and wiser than most many, many, many years beyond her. It is a rare pair of eyes and an open heart to live this life and your family does.
We loved having you visit and speak at the school. You all taught the kids so much. I love you all so much and I am proud and lucky that I am part of your lives.