For the past six Halloweens Joe has gone as something little and cute – a bee, skunk, lion, gnome, chicken and a dinosaur. This year he was a doctor because he’s getting to be a big boy.
There are a few World War II airplanes still flying. Not just air-worthy, but actually flying all over the country as mobile museums.
Virginia is a hotbed of Czech and Slovak folks – who knew?! Evidently, hundreds (thousands?) of people, because they were all in Prince George today for the annual festival. It was very Central European, meaning lots of cabbage rolls and polka. Mmm mmm good! Joe dug it, and we did too.
Joe is participating for the second time in a VCU program called Virginia Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities. Through Va-LEND, people who will be working in healthcare are paired with families that include kids with intellectual disabilities to give the future pros a taste of what the families experience.
I like to imagine it was a cut-throat, Hunger Games kind of thing where a remarkable young woman named Joyti defeated a herd of pretenders for a chance to work with our boy. It was more likely just smart work on the Va-LEND team’s part. Either way, Joyti has now earned a spot on Team Joe – another terrific person who will grow and mature under his tutelage.
Tonight she beamed in for a quick visit. The iPads were cracklin’ with mutual admiration. Welcome to the team Joyti!
The first day of kindergarten was a success. Joe wasn’t too tired when he got home, and we had great communication from his teacher and school staff. Go Tussing!
Usually I write a post because we had a good day or something interesting happened. Maybe we went to a museum or played in the pool.
This site has become a pretty neat little archive of Joe’s life, a terrific online scrapbook of the past few years. This makes me proud and happy.
This post is written knowingly as not a snapshot, but rather a start of a new chapter. It’s important. We’ll read this one again decades from now (hi future self!).
Tomorrow Joe will start kindergarten.
He’s not new to school, but this is different. In the past he’s had only a few classmates, a short school day, and teachers who specialized in developmentally delayed kids.
That was all to get him ready for the big K, where he’ll spend a full school day surrounded by 20 other kids, most of them typical kindergartners, many of them encountering a guy like Joe for the first time. They’re all there to start formal education, slowly building skills to become writers, doctors, welders and hopefully good people.
We’ve done the right things as parents. We (and Joe) are as ready as we’ll ever be, and know it’s a marathon, not a sprint, to get him through the next 12 or 14 years of school. It doesn’t make it any easier, but the time has come.
As always thanks to all the teachers, therapist, family (and more family!), friends, advocates and neighbors who have helped us get this far. I hope Joe has been as positive an influence on your life as you have been on his, and ours.