A few weeks ago, I received a note home from school. It detailed the information for the school's annual fundraiser, "Purple & White Night." There would be raffles, basketball games, and cheer leading. Last year, I read the note explaining how Jaycee could be a cheerleader and, without hesitation, threw it away. "I am not putting myself through that!"
I told myself all the reasons why it was a bad idea: Jaycee likes to run off. She can't talk and therefore can't say any of the cheers. She doesn't follow directions well. She's tired at night. She'll stick out because she won't be able to do it.
But this year, I read the note. Before I dismissed it, I thought about Jaycee first instead of myself. Would she want to do this? She loves pom-poms and loves her friends at school.
I thought about all the challenges in Jaycee's life. Six months ago, Jaycee was near death in the ICU. She had to learn to walk again. She had to work hard to recover skills. That illness has made me think about things differently. Maybe it's made me a little more willing to take chances and do things with Jaycee that I normally wouldn't have. When is she ever going to get a chance to be a cheerleader again?
After consulting with her classroom aide, I signed Jaycee up for cheer leading. There were only a couple of practices at school before the night of the performance.
I went to the big event thinking that success meant Jaycee didn't run off.
In that regard, it was a success. She did some of the motions to the cheers. I have no idea what happened to the ball game because my eyes were fixed on Jaycee. There was a smile on my face. My camera was taking picture after picture.
Then the time came for the short dance. Jaycee loves music. This was her shining moment. She knew most of the moves and was only a beat or two behind the other girls. She did her best, and it was great! And I learned that there is a pay off when taking risks.
Jaycee is the one front & center with the neon laces: