Military Special Needs Network

Proudly Supporting all Military Families with a Special Needs Dependent

Celebrating The Joy That Is My Daughter

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Stock Photo

As my daughter approached the van after school one day I could see that something was wrong. Usually she skipped out of school, but now her shoulders were slumped, her feet dragged, and as she got closer I could see the stream of tears coming down her cheeks. As she climbed in the van, before I had the chance to ask what was wrong, she told me how sorry she was for not completing a test on a book we had been reading, for getting a problem wrong on her math test, and needing a reminder to focus on her work during class.

Her eyes begged me to go easy on her and in that moment I realized I was crushing her sprit and eagerness to learn.

Being the older sister to two siblings with special needs put stress on Hailey, but nothing like the stress I put on her. Instead of celebrating a nearly perfect test on a new skill, she was sternly “you know this stuff. How could you get that wrong?” Every reminder from a teacher to stay on task came with a lecture from me about how class time is for working when I should be happy to know she had a close friend that she couldn’t wait to share stories with.

I was teaching Hailey to focus on her minor mistakes rather than celebrate the wonder that is her.

Before we could even pull out of the school parking lot, I threw the car in park and made a promise my kids and to me to do better. To be better.

I have stopped asking about what was done at school or if tests were passed. Gone are the days where I press for how a question could have been missed. Instead, Hailey is asked what she did that day to make herself feel proud and what was a time in her day that she felt joy and loved.

In the weeks since we started the new line of questions I have learned more about my daughter’s life at school than any test could show. I have learned what pride she takes in helping others, especially younger kids. I have learned that she has a true best friend; someone that is constantly supporting and encouraging my daughter to be her best.

Best of all, she is back to skipping out of school- eager to tell me what made her proud that day.


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