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More Skees Please by Taryn Skees
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I am a wife, and stay-at-home mother of 3 boys (with a 4th on the way!) so it goes without saying that my life can be summed up in 2 words - organized chaos. I've always loved to write and being a mom gives me great material. I started my personal blog, More Skees Please, in 2008 when my son Aiden was born with a rare craniofacial condition. Ever since then, writing has been an outlet for me. I love sharing about my family, the challenges of motherhood, raising a special needs child and the everyday ordinary stuff that makes it all worth it. Enjoy!
Just Like You...Only Different: An open letter to my son's kindergarten classmates
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Just Like You...Only Different: An open letter to my son's kindergarten classmates

September 17, 2013 | 08:43 AM

As the beginning of the school year approached for my kids, we were all feeling a little anxious about the transition. We moved from Texas to Kentucky this summer so my boys were starting at a new school where they would have no familiar faces to greet them and make them feel at ease.

As parents, we often wish we could be a fly on the wall to watch our little ones spread their wings and fly. Are they making friends? Will they use good manners? Do they remember their numbers and letters?

But this year, as my middle boy Aiden started Kindergarten, I had a whole new set of worries. Aiden was born with a rare craniofacial condition called Apert syndrome that is characterized by marked differences in his appearance. His midface is retruded a bit, his fingers and toes are varied shapes and sizes due to having been fused together at birth and separated surgically later, and he proudly wears a zigzag scar from ear to ear that shows where his head was opened up twice to expand his skull to allow his brain to grow properly. So yes, while I was reassuring my boys that "1st grade and Kindergarten are going to be awesome!", I admitedly had doubts myself.

In an effort to gently raise awareness and advocate for Aiden, I wrote the below and shared it with his teacher the second week of school. It has since swirled through the internet at a furied pace - reaching more than just those kids in Aiden's class - but also garnering attention from parents and educators near and far. Perhaps because the message is universal - everyone is different. And everyone should be accepted no matter what.

September is Craniofacial Acceptance Month so today, I'd like to share my letter with the readers here. Hopefully you can use this to spark a conversation with your children about kids like Aiden. {To learn more about Apert syndrome and Aiden's medical journey, visit www.moreskeesplease.com}

Thanks for letting my son inspire you!

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To Aiden's fellow classmates:

Congratulations on this huge milestone in your lives! Kindergarten is SO much fun and such a huge step. Many of you are leaving your mommies and daddies a few hours a day for the first time ever. You may feel nervous, excited, scared and so many more emotions and that is okay.

My little guy Aiden is starting this journey too. He is most excited about riding the big yellow school bus with his brother, but he is nervous about going to a new school and making new friends.

Can I let you know a little secret? I am his mommy and I am nervous too.

You see, Aiden is a very special boy. Aiden has Apert syndrome.

When I look at him, I see his big bright eyes, his long and luscious eye lashes that would make any woman envious. I see the soft brown freckles sprinkled ever so delicately across his cheeks and nose. I am drawn to his contagious smile. I don't notice the scar on his head or that his face looks a little different.

But I know you probably will.

I marvel at the hands that have been refined by an amazing surgeon giving him fingers where there once were none. I watch in awe as he twists the cap off a water bottle or cuts a piece of paper into a million scraps. I see perfectly created little toes that make shoe shopping a week-long challenge. I don't think his hands are strange or his toes are weird.

But you might think so.

When I hear Aiden talk, I am reminded of when so many doctors and specialists told me he may have hearing loss that would effect his speech. That language may always be a struggle. Needless to say, he has proven them all wrong. When I talk to Aiden I don't think he's hard to understand.

But it may be difficult for you to know what he's saying sometimes.

I don't mind if you notice these special things about him. Most people do. However it is my hope that when you are learning your ABC's and colors of the rainbow, that you also learn how to accept my little boy. That before you decide not to sit next to him on the bus or share your crayons with him during art, you give him a chance.

He will make you laugh with his little jokes and silly songs. He will be a great friend, always ready to help you hang your backpack or put the blocks away. And my Aiden? He gives the best hugs, hands down.

Get to know him. That's all I ask. And when you do, you will understand - Aiden is just like you...only different.

Hope you all have a wonderful year!

Love, Aiden's mommy


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