So just off the top of my head...
Thank you for making sure someone wrote in the communication journal even on days when the teacher was out. The anticipation to pull it out of his backpack when he got home never lessened.
And thank you for eight years worth of those parent-teacher communication journals. I appreciate each & every glimpse into his day.
Thank you for literally carrying Hayden into the building when he was in preschool, & went through a major separation anxiety phase at drop-off.
Speaking of preschool, thank you for that video which still gives me chills & tugs at my heartstrings...
Thank you for letting me send in a small supply of applesauce & water-- for years-- for Hayden to keep in the classroom.
Thank you for finding a spot to keep extra clothing at school just in case.
And for remembering I always put a clean (matching) top in his backpack, if he happened to need a fresh shirt during the day.
Thank you for not only saving his very first tooth when it came out, but for capturing the milestone moment:
Thank you for making sure he had a quiet place to go to when he needed downtime.
Thank you for making sure he had access to appropriate sensory equipment.
Thank you (to say the least) for all the valentine, Halloween, & everything-in-between gifts. (Oh my goodness... the volume of holiday gifts!)
For easing the transition into kindergarten.
For easing the transition into the regular grade classroom settings thereafter.
For taking a walk with him outside when you sensed the fresh air would do him well.
For administering his medicine in doughnut holes. (For keeping a supply of said doughnut holes.)
For answering all of my (many) emails over the years.
For trusting me with your personal phone numbers. For the all the calls. For all the text messages.
For the regularly scheduled progress meetings. For the impromptu meetings.
For hiding me when it was risky for Hayden to know I was at the school. (Especially the time I was in the closet in the front office so he wouldn't know I was there to spy on him during concert rehearsal.)
For the various articles, brochures, & Hayden/fragile x-related materials you displayed in the front hall over the years.
For allowing me the opportunity to speak with the faculty at the beginning of each school year, during a teacher in-service day.
For welcoming me into your classrooms to speak with Hayden's peers about fragile x syndrome.
For sending home end-of-year flyers to remind everyone about Fragile X Awareness Day over the summer.
For changing the sign in the front of the school to encourage everyone to wear green to show their support on July 22nd.
For saving & displaying Hayden's Wednesday Wishes in the front hall.
For coming up with the idea of Wednesday Wishes.
For the book of wishes from everyone else that we will positively cherish forever.
For meeting with me at a yogurt shop, or wherever & whenever, to review his IEP with me.
For attending full-day conferences on your own time during weekends, on more than one occasion, to learn from various specialists in the fragile x community... when they happened to be presenting in NJ or NY.
For participating in consultations with fragile x specialists once at school, & several times via conference call.
For impressing them with your continued eagerness to help Hayden succeed.
For being more than okay with the fact that I practically bombarded you with materials over the years... books, binders, you name it. If it was something that could help you help Hayden, you held your hands out.
For confessing that you have his picture on your refrigerator at home.
For helping him through tough behaviors & smiling beside him during proud moments.
For chewing minty gum because you noticed the scent calms him.
For always making him feel important & occasionally letting him be in charge.
For reassuring us, especially during the many administrative changes over the years, & the frequent rotation of case managers, that in the end everything would be okay. And if it wasn't okay, then it was not the end.
For teaching me how to appropriately advocate for my son.
For supporting him both in & out of the classroom.
It seems silly to say thank you because it sounds too simple of a courtesy...
All we expected was that you would welcome Hayden inside & help him learn.
Pardon my language but you damn near rolled out a red carpet.
You did not simply provide Hayden an early education. You nurtured, respected, & encouraged him. You accepted opportunity after opportunity, & continued to recognize capabilities we didn't even know he had. You were the team that stood behind him, or beside him, & looked at him with pride in your eyes. Even when he struggled... you knew he was trying, you knew he could overcome, & you knew he could always progress.
When I picture Hayden as a preschooler I think of my blond, curly-haired, big-brown-eyed, non-verbal three year old wearing a bucket hat, high top sneakers with orthotics up to his ankles, & an absolutely enormous grin.
I feel like I snapped my fingers & he was in kindergarten. And then I blinked & he was in first grade. And before I knew it we were preparing him for the middle school transition.
All I know is he went from that little guy to this big kid & his smile never left his face.
Because of you.
So please know when I say thank you, it is only because I do not know a more profound greeting.
Most of you have said Hayden will always have a piece of your heart, & I just wanted to tell you the feeling is mutual. I promise.