Mattie has started Kindergarten! Not just any Kindergarten class but a regular class at the same school as her brother and cousins! Jim and I have worked hard to make this dream a reality. It has been extremely important to us that Mattie have the same opportunities as her brother. We have spent countless hours researching, studying, making calls and advocating for her, and with the help of her school therapists, pre-school teacher, and the other 10 ladies that made up our IEP team… we did it. I am not going to lie… it was stressful to say the least, but the end result is Mattie is right where she should be. We are so grateful for everyone that has been involved in the process and helped to make this transition as smooth as possible.
It is not often that I cry but today the tears poured on my way to work. As I was walking Joba and Mattie to class this morning, at least 8 kids stopped to tell Mattie “hi”. I was slightly surprised by this as Mattie is in a new school and doesn’t know any of the kids. It turns out the letter we sent out to Mattie’s Kindergarten class was spread throughout the school. The letter was written “by Mattie” and explains how cerebral palsy affects her. At the end of the letter she says she wants to be your friend and asks that you say hi. I want to thank all of the amazing parents that took our letter to heart and taught their children not to shy away from a person with a disability. It means a lot to us and to Mattie.
With Mattie starting school full time it is coming with many new adjustments. The biggest one being no naps! A full day of school followed by hours of therapy makes for one tired girl. I am struggling a little bit with this. It is important for Mattie to continue to get the therapy she needs but at the same time, is it too much? I just don’t know…
Our most recent trip to New York this summer was very eventful! We were able to see Mattie’s leg doctor and have her fitted for new leg braces (thank you to everyone that made this happen through Run for Hope 5K and Lindsey and Russ’ Boston Marathon Fundraiser). What was the most surprising aspect of the visit to Dr. Jordan was he had nothing bad to say. It was the first time EVER that a doctor has told us he was happy with Mattie’s progress and felt that Mattie’s most recent surgery on her legs was very successful! What a relief! He also thought Mattie was close to being able to stand on her own! Jim and I got in the car after the appointment, looked at each other and laughed. It felt great for once, to leave on a good note. We continued on to NYC to see Mattie’s ABM therapist. Mattie had 7 ABM sessions while we were there. After coming home, Mattie has continued to hold her back upright and is able to sit more easily in different positions. She has really retained what she learned from those lessons! We will continue to go to Gainesville once a month for ABM therapy sessions and are hoping to make it back to NYC for more ABM lessons in November.
It is never easy juggling life, especially a life that involves a special needs kid. Some days are harder than others but at the end of the day when Mattie is giving us hugs, kisses, and noses, I know that every second of the hard work is worth it. Together we are helping this little girl grow into something special. God has blessed us with such an inspirational daughter. I could not be more proud of her.
Mattie’s next fundraising event, The 4th Annual Hope for Mattie Charity Golf Tournament is taking place on October 29th 2016. We are looking for players, sponsors, and donations for the silent auction. All proceeds from this event will help fund Mattie’s ABM therapies and a special needs toileting system that she so desperately needs. For more details on the The 4th Annual Hope for Mattie Charity Golf Tournament and how you can help, click HERE