Jadon’s diagnosis ripped our dreams up into tiny little pieces and tossed them to the wind. SMA took our dreams and left us to hope for things that were merely expectations prior to those 3 letters entering our lives.
We have dreamed about milestones like living to be six months old, a year, and then two years. Beyond 2 years was categorized as miracle territory. Only 10% of kids diagnosed with the #1 genetic killer live to celebrate their second birthday. While we wished for a miracle we prepared ourselves for disappointment as the odds were so heavily stacked against him.
With our dreams being reduced to such short sightedness you can imagine our surprised joy when discussions began about Jadon attending school. Jadon was thriving and we started to dream again. We allowed ourselves to dream about something we had truly given up on.
With that dream came a new worry. We spent his first 3 years worrying the gravest of worries, but this one was new.
Jadon is different from other kids and his differences are somewhat less than subtle. We worried how he would he be viewed by the outside world? Would he make friends? Would he be bullied? Could he possibly be accepted?
All we ever prayed for was acceptance, but we have gotten so much more.
We have been blessed beyond recognition. I truly hope our family is not even recognized as a family with a terminally ill child because he is living life to the fullest.
Jadon has not simply been accepted but truly valued. The kids genuinely love him and that awesomeness brings tears to our eyes.
One day this spring Mrs Green read a book to Jadon’s first grade class about how everyone is good at something. After reading the book the kids did an exercise where they paired up and told their partner something they are good at. Being Jadon’s voice I struggled to come up with something these young minds would understand. Most of the kids spoke of activities such as soccer, baseball, baking, or singing.
I settled on “Jadon is good at making others happy.”
To my surprise this brought the BIGGEST smile to his partners face. With the most incredible enthusiasm she exclaimed “I KNOW! EVERYONE wants to be around Jadon.” Daddy had a little moment right there in class because she made me realize it really is true. Kids fought to be Jadon’s partner all year long. Rarely does someone walk by us in the hall and not say “Hi Jadon” or at least give a silent finger wave. Kids are doing fundraisers in honor of Jadon. They do class projects about SMA. They have not simply accepted him but embraced him for all that he is.
Jadon turned 7 years old today and we have no idea what the future holds. We will continue to take each day as it comes and only allow ourselves to look just so far into the future. What we do know is that our son has been blessed by some amazing people: teachers, administrators, students, classmates, teammates, neighbors and strangers… all of them now friends.
Happy Birthday Jadon! You are truly loved.