Graduation!

Posted by Karen - July 8th, 2018

A couple of weeks ago, my daughter Miranda had her grade 7 school-leaving ceremony. My girl is – gasp – on her way to high school! (Where we live there are 2 levels of school, with elementary being K to grade 7 and high school grade 8 to 12.) Holy smokes, where did the time go, how did she get so big, and blah blah blah… Really though, wow.

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The school did a morning assembly in which the grade 7 students were recognized. Miranda’s star moment was when she and two other students (representing the three grade 7 classes) each gave a short valedictory speech. I will now shamelessly brag and say that she did so, SO very well – her voice rang out loud and clear, and most impressively, she didn’t talk too fast. Happily, our family was joined that day by Miranda’s grandparents from Calgary and her grandmother who lives in Vancouver, so they all got to see Miss M in action.

Our family

Our family

Miranda with her farmor, grandpa, and baba.

Miranda with her farmor, grandpa, and baba.

That was also the first time Miranda used her new power wheelchair in the school. She will be using the chair in high school, so this was something of an inauguration of the chair’s new role.

As I type this, I’m examining my feelings… Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva is the reason Miranda must now use a power wheelchair. It would be all too easy to descend into bitterness and curse its rank existence for preventing my daughter from walking more than short distances, and specifically, from walking out in front of her community to accept her graduation diploma. I’m finding, though, that I just don’t want to look at things that way. To do so would be to give FOP too much power over Miranda’s life and how we perceive her. Instead, I prefer to focus on M’s achievements and abilities, and I’m glad to say that the rest of our family seems to see it that way too. Grade 7 graduation is the first of what we hope and expect will be a number of accomplishments in Miranda’s life, and we’ll miss out on a lot of pride and joy in her if we focus on hating FOP.

Moving right along – elementary school is finished, and now begins the adventure of HIGH SCHOOL. When I say “now”, I literally do mean now. You see, Miranda announced to me a few months ago that she and a couple of friends were wanting to take a 3.5 week-long “grade 7-8 transition” program at the high school this summer. It turns out that this program is a half-day long each day, Monday to Friday, and runs the length of July. The idea is that the students registered in the program get an introductory taste of what grade 8 is like by taking shortened versions of each of the main classes (English, Social Studies, Math, Science, Phys Ed), and get the chance to learn how the school works and where everything is. In Miranda’s case, it also gives her the opportunity to identify any issues and iron out any kinks with wheelchair use. And, from the parental perspective, the course has one really fantastic feature – since it’s run by the school board rather than a private organization, the program is FREE. As in, it costs nothing. No payment. Did I mention that we didn’t get charged anything for it?? Seriously, I can’t get over how great this is, following 7 years of paying through the nose for various summer camps… Anyway, to return to the program, Miranda is attending in her power chair. Since it’s just a half day in length, and her two friends are helping her with her backpack and books and so forth, she doesn’t even have an educational assistant, which makes her one very happy teenager.

My recent graduate is off to a good start for the summer. Here’s to a new set of adventures awaiting her!

 

PS – As usual, our family will be doing our annual Walk for FOP fundraiser in Calgary, Alberta this summer. The event will take place on Sunday, August 5, and all funds raised will benefit the Canadian FOP Network (CFOPN). The CFOPN is a registered charity which provides over 80% of funds raised to FOP research. For more details, and to donate to our fundraiser, please go to: www.walkforfop.com. You can donate on-line by clicking on “General Donations”. Or, if you’d like to send a cheque, make it out to Canadian FOP Network, and contact me for my address. Many thanks!

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