By: Megan Fortman/
Amelia “graduated” from her Early On therapy group at the end of August. Graduation meant she had turned three and was old enough to go to preschool in the fall. That word- preschool made me cringe. In my mind preschool translated to leaving my baby to fend for herself. Basically you should be picturing the beginning scenes of the movie Jungle Book. When Mowgli, a little helpless baby in a basket, is discovered by a black panther who delivers him to a pack of wolves to be raised as their own. While this illustration sounds extreme, the fear circling around my brain seemed comparable. We had to make the decision- preschool or no preschool.
Up until two weeks ago, when Amelia had her first day of solo speech speech therapy, I wasn’t positive if we had made the right decision. I was worried my insecurities had skewed what was in her best interest. The stress and guilt I felt wondering if I was holding her back, was enough to make me crazy.
I often find myself wondering if the decisions I make are in Amelia’s best interest.. or mine. Is she really not ready for preschool or am I not ready for Amelia to go to preschool? Am I keeping her from reaching her full potential by selfishly wanting one more year with her? Is this decision so hard because she’s my youngest baby or because she has Down Syndrome? Will I ever be ready? Will she?
I’m almost positive this is why God made Dad’s. Someone to cut the umbilical cord and to tell Mom’s when they are being crazy. In the nicest way possible my husband rescued Amelia and I from the jungle aka (brought me back to reality) and we made the level headed decision not to send Amelia to preschool this year. We didn’t feel either classroom (typical or special needs) was a great fit for her in this season. We felt that right now she is floating somewhere in between the two. We decided an extra year to work one on one with her therapists on the areas in which she struggles is perfect for her. We decided she is progressing wonderfully exactly where we are. We decided that a year with Mom’s undivided attention, while big brother and sister are at school was a once in a life time opportunity. Erik and I decided that a jump start to school, and undivided time with Mom were equally valuable.
The first day of Millie-Momma alone time was a complete success. We snuggled, read books, grocery shopped, She dominated therapy and we celebrated how far she had come this summer with a Starbucks date. It felt so right. Her effort and accomplishments in language have grown so much in the last few months. She chattered all the way home. She was so happy and so was I. That feeling of guilt melted away and I was instantly assured I had made the right decision for Amelia. That day was a beautiful reminder that no matter the decisions we make, we are not in control. He is. God has a plan for Amelia’s life that is so purposeful. All I can do is trust him.
Sometimes his messages smack us in the face. Other times its a subtle ringing in your ear and a nagging of your heart. Amelia is progressing. She is growing into a sassy and determined little girl right before our eyes. This year calls for some alone time with Mom. Next year may be preschool. This time I listened to the ringing and I’m so glad I did<3
Hello I’m Megan Fortman! Just your typical wife and Mom driving a big ol’ van full of crazy cute kids, trying to wear real pants as little as possible and drink as much coffee as humanly possible. I have spent majority of my life on one road in Tecumseh and am a Tecumseh high school graduate. There is no where I would rather raise my family than here in this perfectly small town. I am constantly on a mission to share our very normal lives that happens to be enhanced with an extra chromosome. I can’t think of a better place to break the stigmas on Down Syndrome with one Amelia smile at a time.by