In a discussion with some neighbors the other day we somehow got talking about miracles.
We talked about how sometimes we have to recognize the miracles. We have to be looking for them or they may slip by unnoticed.
And those miracles may come in a different form than we are asking for.
One friend mentioned that the Biblical Moses maybe wasn’t asking God to part the Red Sea.
He was most probably asking for the conflict to just be over already.
Daniel probably prayed to never go in the Lion’s Den in the first place.
Now let’s back up from that discussion and talk about this brave girl who’s vision is dwindling more and more rapidly these days:
She is working so hard.
She is such a conscientious student, but is struggling more and more to see the computer or tiny worksheets her teachers hand out, not realizing there is one girl in their class who is pretending with all her might that “she’s got this!”
A girl who wants desperately to fit in and not need extra help to do the work everyone around her is doing.
This year, after many years of declining help (sometimes kindly, other times in a giant huff…there are so many who want to help her at school, one particular helper who is assigned just to Lucy, but Lucy has refused anything different from all the other students), Lucy got a new case manager.
This woman, realizing how conscientious Lucy is about her grades, called me one day and told me she had an epiphany:
We needed to let Lucy fail.
If she was ever going to accept the accessibility modifications offered, we couldn’t keep carrying her along, reading everything to her, staying up all night trying to help her write in the tiny boxes unknowing teachers printed on her worksheets, trying to help her navigate assignments to highlight particular text with colors she couldn’t see, and trying to finish tests in the same allotted time other students were allowed who could glance over paragraph questions and know what they were asking (it takes Lucy so long for her eyes to focus enough to read one word let alone a whole paragraph).
And you know what? That angel case manager was right.
We have talked until we are blue in the face over and over and over again about the fact that asking for help doesn’t mean you aren’t as smart as everyone else. It just means your eyes aren’t working and you have to learn other ways to do things. But it took a couple of her grades dipping quite low for this spitfire girl of ours to realize it was time to ask for help.
I think this particular assignment was the one that made her decide it was time:
In tears near midnight she decided she couldn’t pretend to be able to read those letters and understand that graph any longer.
She needed help.
She wrote an email to a couple of her teachers letting them know she would accept modifications and enlargements.
And that smart case manager celebrated.
We were getting some traction.
Lucy started coming home with giant stacks of papers with her math all enlarged:
See that stack of paper up there on the left? that is one couple-page study guide.
And the other things are enlargements for one double-sided assignment.
Here are some graphs they made for her:
It is amazing that her teachers will go through this length to help her with the graphing.
We are teary-grateful.
Of course, we are not naive enough to think this is the answer to all the worries. It is still incredibly difficult to navigate those stacks of paper, keeping track of their order, and where to write, and which graph goes with which question maybe two pages later.
It is still difficult for Lucy to express what she needs help with. And she definitely reverts back to dismissing any assistance often. It is a rollercoaster.
This is new territory for all of us.
The Chemistry teacher has never had a vision impaired student, and labs are filled up with unknowns and chemicals that shouldn’t be bumped or mixed wrong. The culinary teacher doesn’t know how to help a vision impaired student measure or work with a hot pan. The World Studies teacher is trying to find an alternate homework program that will not involve so much scrolling and jumping around on a computer where the font is already so big the overall picture is lost. We haven’t figured out how to help her read large passages (the computer can read to her but it’s difficult to navigate even to get that to happen, and the voice is so computerized it’s difficult to understand).
But let’s back up to that discussion about miracles at the beginning of this post.
As those neighbor friends an I were talking, my heart started to swell as I realized we were in the midst of our own miracle.
Sure, this is not the answer I would ask for.
Not the one I pray my guts out for every night, nor the one we are constantly trying to raise awareness and funds for.
The miracle I’m pleading for is for that vision to be restored.
For this girl of mine not to have to deal with such a heavy burden.
I’m not getting that miracle (at least not right now).
But right now we do have a miracle. Multiple miracles, actually:
Lucy lives in a school district with an incredible special needs program.
Every year she gets the best teachers. Ones that make me leave our IEP meetings in tears because they are so good and kind and willing to work with my girl.
This year she got paired with a case manager who was willing to dig deep.
And find a way for Lucy to dig deep.
And although we do not have all the answers (very few, actually), we are making baby steps.
All the teachers are on board to figure this out, no matter how much work it takes.
Those are all miracles.
And I almost missed them in my wallowing worry wishing for my idea of how this miracle should go.
This struggle is deep and dark, and just last night Lu and I were wallowing in some misery. How can we figure this out?
But one other miracle:
She can do this.
And she amazes me every day.