I still clearly remember Jordan’s first day of Kindergarten. I was so strong in front of her. We walked to school with Cameron and other kids in the neighborhood. There was picture time with the kids in front of the school. Randy and I helped Jordan sit down with other new Kindergarteners in the hallway just outside the classroom door. Jordan was wearing her helper Disney Princess helper arm and was proudly wearing an outfit she picked out for her first day. Kids stared at her and she held strong. I held strong. But I got teary as I walked away from her sitting in the hallway. I was so worried elementary school would break her.

Last night, Jordan graduated from elementary school. All of her classmates got to wear fancy dresses and there was a pizza party planned afterward. We are on the cusp of a new era. I won’t have a connection to our town’s elementary schools anymore. I’ll have a middle schooler and a high schooler. I’ll have tween and teen attitude everywhere. But most of all, I won’t have that elementary school simplicity.

Each time my kids move into a new phase, I get super nervous. I try to do what I can to support Jordan’s opportunity to grow stronger. I encourage her school leadership to offer Jordan support but give her time to find her own solutions. That tactic has helped Jordan to grow into a very strong, hard-headed kid. (And if you ask her teachers, there are pros and cons to that personality.) As Jordan gets older, I have less control over her environment and I just have to hope she is growing up to be able to manage the mean kids and the misinformed kids. She has an amazing crew of friends who surround her with support and periodic drama. (Because they’re 11. That’s how it works.) I can only hope her new school and her friends will support Jordan in her ongoing quest to help the misinformed kids get past their reactions to a physical difference.

I had a meeting with Jordan’s new school to review her middle school 504 plan recently. Her 504 plan focuses on any adaptive needs Jordan may have during the school day. But we also talked about the cultural challenges Jordan may face in a school where many kids have never seen her before. It’s very possible there are students attending the school who have never seen a limb difference before. The sixth-grade school counselor says Jordan is the first limb different kid she’s supported in her career.

Jordan’s elementary school nurse attended our middle school meeting with insight on how the school did (and really didn’t have to) adapt to Jordan’s needs. As Jordan has gotten older, she’s needed less support. She has friends she leans on. She rarely asks adults for help. Her school knows her and knows Jordan finds her own solutions. But we have to start over. We need her new school to know Jordan figures out her world with one hand in a way two-handed people don’t understand. She will have a locker, a trumpet, and a schedule that takes her to different parts of the building.

The new guidance counselor mentioned how she hoped middle school doesn’t erase Jordan’s strong and positive attitude. Obviously, that is my fear at each big each educational milestone. As preschool ended, I got so nervous, I found a photographer who could help me capture Jordan’s strength and power, in case she’d need to go back and look at those times. (She never needed the photos. But I think I did.)

As elementary school ends, I am making sure Jordan has her friends as support. I’m hopeful some of her chief supporters will be able to see Jordan in the hallways, have lunch together, and hopefully take a few classes together. Parents are less important as she gets older. I know she has good kids in her life. They come with great parents who I adore.

I’m nervous. Jordan is nervous. She’s excited. But as we enter each new stage, I know we’ll all learn a lot along the way. And I’m lucky to have this space to share it with you.

{ 2 comments }

Pushing Limitations at Great Wolf Lodge

May 1, 2017

Our family had a chance to visit a Great Wolf Lodge for the first time over the weekend. I was a little nervous about going to a new place that might have restrictions on people with one hand. I reached out to the Kansas City hotel to confirm if there were any restrictions. Luckily, a […]

Read the full article →

Project Unicorn Meets Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino

April 20, 2017

It seems like Jordan has created a craze that is traveling across the country. Unicorns are the BEST! And apparently, if you were a unicorn, you would taste like the combination of mango and sour blue raspberry. That’s what Starbucks did with its Unicorn Frappuccino. It’s a fun and brightly colored drink that is only […]

Read the full article →

Share a different “normal” at TEDxCoMo

April 14, 2017

We haven’t posted a lot lately but that doesn’t mean life has gotten boring around here! In the last week, three very big deal things came together. First: Born Just Right is officially a non-profit! The IRS has registered us as a 501(c)3 and that means we can start fundraising toward our goal of giving […]

Read the full article →

So Many Wonderful Project Unicorn Videos

March 6, 2017

As Jordan and I try to settle down into a new normal of talking about sparkle-shooting prosthetics every day, we are overwhelmed by the number of awesome videos that came out this past week on social media. I figured I would share them here so we can remember them for years to come. (This site is […]

Read the full article →

See How the Latest Project Unicorn Works

March 1, 2017

In all the craziness of the last couple of weeks, I realized we haven’t actually shown you how the latest version of Project Unicorn works! Jordan had a chance to do an interview with a kids news app called News-O-Matic. We had so much fun talking to the reporter, Ryan, that we decided we would […]

Read the full article →

Shifting the Focus on Inclusive Design

February 27, 2017

A big reason Jordan encouraged me to work on transitioning Born Just Right from a community to a non-profit community came from a huge realization. As Jordan learned more about design this past year, the more we saw how a lot of the inclusive design world is supported by typically able engineers and designers. There […]

Read the full article →

Feeling the Real Impact of our Work

February 24, 2017

Last night, a very cool thing happened. Jordan was publicly announced as a speaker at TEDxCoMo – a local TEDx planned in Columbia, MO in April. Jordan has a chance to contribute to a conversation about being a “citizen.” That’s a general word that has a lot of opportunity for interpretation. Jordan plans to share […]

Read the full article →

So Many Questions to Answer

February 22, 2017

Answering questions over the phone or Skype with journalists is now a daily experience for Jordan. That’s a bit surreal, right? But that got me thinking. What if you have questions and want to know something about prosthetics or parenting or glitter. (I know more about glitter than I ever thought I needed to know. […]

Read the full article →

The Best Brother in the Shadows

February 21, 2017

Jordan has so much support. I have found articles in South Africa, France, England, India and even Serbia sharing her Project Unicorn story and how Born Just Right is launching a nonprofit so more kids have a chance to learn inclusive design. What you may not know is one of Jordan’s biggest supporters is her […]

Read the full article →

Cookies, Basketball and Trying to Keep Things “Normal”

February 20, 2017

We’re trying to get life back to normal after a month that feels a bit surreal. The combination of Jordan’s trip to New York City to take part in Kid Inventor Day and a separate trip to visit The Rachael Ray Show has led to a lot of exciting developments for Born Just Right and Jordan. […]

Read the full article →

The Thrill of a Tweet

February 16, 2017

Last yesterday afternoon, I was just wrapping up a work phone call when I noticed a post a friend left on my personal Facebook page. She mentioned Chelsea Clinton had tweeted about Jordan and the CNN article about her. It was jaw-dropping because of the kindness she showed in the tweet and her follow-up tweets […]

Read the full article →

Using littleBits on a Valentine’s Day Box

February 15, 2017

I’m not sure when the Valentine’s Day box became a high-pressure, competitive experience. But my kids skipped the drive to win the award for the best box until Jordan’s final year of elementary school. Weeks ago, she started plotting a way to use her littleBits to power her box. She looked at all the functions she […]

Read the full article →

What’s Next for Project Unicorn

February 13, 2017

We had a really big week last week. Jordan powered through nerves and faced the Shark Tank and got to go on national television for the first time. She got to show off a brand new version of Project Unicorn and show off an extra sparkly version of her project logo shirt. (Not to mention, […]

Read the full article →
Real Time Analytics Google+