Oct 12, 2011

Posted by in Articles | 6 Comments

This Little Light of Mine

This Little Light of Mine

Somehow September and half of October have passed in what seems like moments. This time of year is always busy with the back-to-school process, both of my children’s birthdays, and the Jewish holidays (which we celebrate with my husband’s family)… but this year the busyness has been exacerbated by the process of finding a Kindergarten for our daughter (because her school only goes through pre-K) and a potential geographical move for our family (which, of course, affects the school process).

So the past six weeks have been a blur. My memory, which is usually embarrassingly spotty, has been even moreso. I feel like I’m running to catch a bus that just keeps speeding up.

But today as I picked my daughter up from school something happened to slow my world down. As I pulled away from the school, I heard her singing quietly in the back seat, “I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.”

Though she hadn’t said the first few words of the song, I knew exactly which one she was singing. This was no small accomplishment, because for a long time my daughter couldn’t sing. Though she loved music, the low muscle tone in her cheeks and diaphragm and late developing speech made putting all the pieces of singing a song together very difficult for her.

But since I, now, could tell which song she was singing, I started singing too. From the front seat I started, “This little light of mine…” and I heard her voice pick up in the back, “I’m gonna let it shine.” We kept singing together, but my voice got quieter because the tears welled in my eyes so quickly and I had to keep from choking on my words.

My daughter recently turned 5. The years have been a blur. When she was 17 months old we discovered that her development was delayed. The months and years that followed involved multiple doctors, therapists, and a preschool that integrated children with special needs with children who are “typically developing.” The school has been a godsend for our daughter– it’s given her a tremendous start with lots of love and support, wonderful teachers, and a student body that is fabulously diverse in every sense of the word.

The time came, as the last year of preschool approached, to determine what kind of school would be best for our daughter as she moved on to higher grades. Though “inclusion” model schools work wonders in preschool, often children with learning differences or developmental delays find it harder to “keep up” as school gets more academic (as they do earlier and earlier now– there was little pressure to read in Kindergarten when I was growing up, but now that is often the expected time for reading to begin). We recently decided that a school with more support than a typical mainstream school would probably be best for our daughter. For one thing, we live in a city where public schools can be spotty; and also our daughter’s self-esteem is a primary concern, so having a small school focused on children with learning differences will help ensure that she is supported and cared for.

Even a year ago, making this decision scared me. But now I know that it’s simply the best choice for our daughter at this time. And she has taught me that the light that she is keeps shining. And it’s my job to make sure it continues to do so.

Let it shine, Baby. Let it shine.

  1. Stephanie Diaz says:

    the best decisions are always the hardest to make but I am sooo glad you are seeing how right you were to make it!!

  2. It’s been far too long since I’ve checked in or contributed to Conscious Moms – but I”m so glad I chose to come say “hello” tonight.
    This piece is gorgeous, Alexandra, as is your daughter. The song will stay fixed in my mind – with the two of you singing it together – for a very long time!

  3. Thank you, Stephanie and CJ. I appreciate your kind words.

  4. Jennifer Berzok says:

    I LOVE this story. I am crying too!!!

  5. Thanks, Jen! I actually cry every time I think about it… But that’s probably just a sign of my exhaustion. ;-)

  6. I remember a little girl, about the same age, singing the same song. So much hope and joy in this article. Thank you for sharing the story AND the hope and the joy.

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