Tuesday, May 22, 2012

when did I become a crier?

The title should probably be "Kindergarten Graduation of a child with Down Syndrome" so I'd fall into the blog search land and get more hits but the fact that Cate has DS had absolutely nothing to do with today.    She graduated kindergarten with a regular class just like all the other 5/6 year olds.  Not one of them cared she was born with a diagnosis - they only care she is their friend Cate.  Don't you love that???

I guess I shouldn't ask a question I know the answer to - I became a crier on 12/22/2005.  I never cried in public much before Cate was born.  Not at weddings, even my own wedding, barely at the very few funerals I'd been too - I guess tears were just not me.  Then came Cate and a diagnosis of Down Syndrome.  Those first days included a lot of tears, but ones of sorrow I hate to admit.  I had no idea then that I was opening the flood gates to so many episodes of happy tears.  I still don't think of myself as a crier so today I went to Cate's kindergarten graduation without a Kleenex or even a napkin.  Of course Cate had to show me - she had me all but sobbing!  I promise photos & maybe some more video tomorrow but I can't wait to show you a tiny bit of the video right now. 

Cate's school is amazing!  I have no idea how those kindergarten teachers did it but they had a perfect performance of 100 kids. Not one ran off the stage, no one cried, everyone seemed to know the words & motions.  Now this isn't just for one song - it was 5 songs, like I said AMAZING.  The kids were so adorable as they sang "I will Survive", "Kindergarten Rap" & "1st Grade Here I come".  These brave teachers even did something very special.  All the kindergartners walk across a little bridge to symbolized their crossing to 1st grade.  As they got to the middle each one stopped at a microphone, said their name and what they learned in kindergarten before finishing the crossing - and they did it, every single one of them.  They said things like "I learned to read", "I learned math", "I learned to make friends".  Cate never did it once in practice over the last month.  Her para-pro, Ms L, said she was still refusing when they were lined up on stage today, saying "I'm not talking".  So when it was Cate's turn, Ms L walked with Cate to the microphone prepared to say her name when she froze.  Cate of course changed her mind as usual - instead of freezing she turned to Ms. L and said "I don't need you" and pointed to the side of the stage.  Well, I'll let you see the rest for yourself - turn up the volume on this one and I'll get my tissue ready this time.

Cate's speech was perfectly clear in person but in case you had trouble on the recording she said "Hello, my name is Cate and I love my family, my mommy, my daddy, my grandma, my grandpa and my sister.  I love them and my grandparents." 
OK so she didn't do what she was suppose to and say what she learned in kindergarten but as she always does - she spoke from her heart.  I am not ashamed to admit I had tears streaming down my face (thank you to the lady next to me who handed me a napkin - bless you)  but our family wasn't the only one shedding a tear, there were many misty eyes in that room.

How can you not love this girl?  She is just the BEST!!!


  1. I'm so proud of Cate, and of the amazing job you and Ric are doing as her parents. Her diagnosis is just that - it's not a description of who she is, and I love how you all remind me that the only limits we have in this world are the ones we put on ourselves. Congratulations Cate!!

  2. Cate knows what is important, her family. Way to go Cate! I am so proud of you!
    Miss Beth

  3. My name is Pam Kapperman and I've had the awesome privilege of working with Cate this year at Hickory Hills Elementary. I, too, am embarrassed to say, that I shed many tears when I was told that my son, Andrew, has Down Syndrome. During his 30 years of life, he has taught me over and over the true meaning of life. His absolute goodness and pure love, like Cate's, has become one of the constants in my life. He has taught me FAR more than I could have ever taught him. I am so proud of Cate and only wish I could have been there to see it in person!!! She is a doll and a never ending ray of sunshine!!! P.S. Tell her Mrs. Kapperman wants pumpernickel for breakfast!!!

  4. Nice to meet you! Thanks for leaving on a comment on my blog. This is my first time to your blog and reading about Cate and I had tears in my eyes watching that video (and listening to the applause!) She did awesome! She may not have spoken what she learned in Kindergarten... but she SHOWED what she learned. I loved that 'I don't need you.' Ha!

  5. I'm not a cryer either, but I am right now. She is perfect. My husband and I brought our own Kate home on Saturday from an orphanage in Kolomna, Russia. She will be five in June, and she too has Down syndrome. Your Cate gives me much hope for my own little love.


    1. Wow Kim! That is so awesome - I will be checking out your blog for sure!

  6. Karen WhittemoreMay 23, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    I enjoyed this post so very much!! Thank you for sharing her with our school!
    Karen Whittemore

  7. I am (& have always been) a crier... so of course I am typing this through happy tears! Saw your post on babycenter the other day but had to come see the video. How very proud you must be of your amazing girl. Quinn will be moving on to first grade too but his school doesn't really do anything like this. Your school truly rocks! Can't wait to hear about her next adventures...

  8. I am a crier so thanks for the warning. What a beautiful little girl your Cate is - inside and out!!!!!!!!!! Thanks fr sharing.