She Danced

Thursday, November 19, 2015

After I encountered our first taste of discrimination I had a choice... 

...let it knock me down or let it renew my fight. And as a huge supporter of the #KnockOutApraxia movement I really only had one option. 

It was one phone call and one meeting with one very sweet former ballerina... maybe it was her beautiful accent or the fact that, when faced with Addie's Apraxia, her response was "...darling... does she love to dance?"... but everything just felt like home. 

And surprisingly Addie's dance home is at the most well respected and "serious" (as I like to call it)  Ballet Company in our area.

The one I didn't call at first. 


See - the thing about discrimination is that, often times, we as parents are the worst offenders. I assumed a Ballet Company with all kinds of awards and credentials wasn't the right place for my girl. 

I was oh so wrong.

My girls place is wherever she wants to be. And it's my job as her Mama to do whatever I need to do to help her get to that place and be successful there. 

I am so happy to say that Addie is three classes in to her first semester at the Ballet Company with a fantastic instructor and a great group of little girls to learn with. Seeing her on the stage, following directions, doing everything as best she can... she absolutely amazes me every single time I watch her. She also provides endless giggles for me as I watch her try to get her feet in first position without toppling over. I'm seeing that Ballet will be quite the challenge to her tone, processing speed, and balance - but we are ready to take that challenge on. 

We are ready to dance. 

"When you get the choice to sit it out or dance...

... Dance! I hope you dance." 


Hope: #KnockOutApraxia

Monday, November 16, 2015

Watching Ronda Rousey get knocked out left me breathless. It wasn't so much that she lost, it was seeing her defeated.

I saw it in her eyes... 

...confusion, desperation, uncertainty, fear. She kept moving, going through the motions, giving it all she had to give. It just wasn't enough. And it all resonated with me because I've seen those eyes before.

I've seen those eyes in my kitchen, on a random Tuesday night, when I ask her to try and say "dog" and her whole being wants to say it... she pulls in everything she has to try and get the word out...

...and "ba" escapes her lips. Hopelessness washes over me as she looks up at me, knowing she hasn't said the word she wanted to...

...those were Addie's eyes. 

And for thousands of individuals those are the eyes we see every day as we fight like hell to #KnockOutApraxia. But we cling to the hope that we can fight and claw our way out - that one day we will look back on all the time, money, and tears and know it was all worth it.

We hold on to hope.

And for that reason we are not phased by Ronda being knocked down...

...We See It Every Day.

Instead we are anticipating how she will get back up.

What's next for #KnockOutApraxia? We plan on continuing our active Facebook page where people can connect and feel supported. We will also be adding a section to this blog called #KnockOutApraxia where we will feature stories and pictures of individuals who are doing battle with Apraxia. We also hope that you will consider learning more about CASANA and supporting them this #GivingTuesday. Please take a look at Laura's blog post for more information.

As moms we know that overcoming Apraxia isn't just about the individual, it's about a community that is educated. A community that understands the struggles and respects the differences our children may have.

But we are committed to winning this fight... and how could we not be?

We have precious little eyes keeping watch.

“The kind of hope I’m talking about is the belief that something good will come. That everything you’re going through and everything you’ve gone through will be worth the struggles and frustrations. The kind of hope I’m talking about is a deep belief that the world can be changed, that the impossible is possible.” - Ronda Rousey 

Add a comment »

Discrimination At Three

Thursday, November 5, 2015


My daughter is three. 

How in the hell am I standing here about to cuss someone out for discriminating against her? 

It was a Friday after a long week of work when I finally decided to call it what it was. 


Addie has shown interest in music her whole life, and dancing has been something she's always loved to do. So... I did what any mom would do... I looked into ballet classes for my girl. 

After multiple emails back and forth - all of which were replied to within 12 hours max -  with the owner of a reputable and well reviewed dance studio to confirm they had a class suitable for her age group and that she hasn't missed the fall session sign-ups - our conversations switched to talks of tuition and where to purchase the required attire.

I sent over the registration information along with a little note...

"Just so you know Addie has Apraxia, so she is not yet able to respond verbally. She does understand everything that is said to her and won't need any accommodation in class other than a little extra understanding. I'm happy to speak with the instructor beforehand and can also send over any information you might like..." 

Addie's whole life so far I've been up against the assumption that because she can not yet speak verbally she is cognitively impaired. Does she work harder to learn some things? Yes. But this little girl tests between 4-5 years old routinely. When she wants to learn something she will... She will sit for 50 minutes straight with ABC flashcards and refuse to stop practicing... 

...she is a fighter. 

Her inability to form words with her mouth in no way impact her ability to be in a dance class with other three and four year olds. 

I would love to say I was able to have that conversation with the owner, that she had asked me about Addie, about her needs. Hell. I would have been happy if she just would have said "Unfortunately I don't think we are the best fit for your daughter..." 

But she ignored me. 

She would not return emails, phone messages, nothing. 

For a week. 

I kept talking myself out of the reality that I had come face to face with my daughter being discriminated against. It couldn't possibly be the case. I'm sure something came up. Maybe I'm being too sensitive. No. 


So here I was, standing in a dance studio, looking at the face of the woman who I believe was discriminating against Addie. 

After introducing myself her face flushed red and she stumbled over words and in that moment I knew my assumption had been correct. I felt anger rising... 

"... lets cut the bullshit..." 

I heard my words and I immediately stopped myself. If I wanted to walk away feeling like I accomplished something I couldn't start in anger... 

"I am sorry you won't get to meet my daughter and see her joy at the first sound of music and her enthusiasm for dance. Apraxia is a motor - speech disorder that makes it hard for her brain to tell her mouth how to say the words she wants to say. It is that complex and it is that simple. Apraxia in no way impedes her ability to follow instructions, to dance... 

I felt the tears and I struggled to hold them back. 

...but you tried to. You tried to keep her from dancing. You won't." 

I handed her some material about Apraxia, and I walked out. 

I walked calmly to my car. 

And then I looked at the clock and gave myself 5 minutes to feel all the feelings. 

In short - I lost my shit. 

I screamed, I cried, I beat my fists into the steering wheel. I yelled at God.

And then I started my car and I drove to pick up my daughter. And when she ran to me, as she always does, smiling wide and giggling and bounding into my arms...

...nothing else mattered. 

And I looked into her little blue eyes and told her...

"Mama is going to find a place for Addie to go and dance!" 

She smiled and started humming a beautiful song. Her arms stretched out wide and she slowly started to twirl around... stopping only to take my hand and ask me to dance with her... 


Unconditional Love

Monday, November 2, 2015


...She tests my patience.

My hair is pulled by one sticky hand while the other uses a pointed finger and sharp little finger nail to poke it's way inside my mouth to inspect my teeth. 

...She makes me worry. 

Full on sick to my stomach, I might throw up, worry. That feeling when your insides churn and you can barely sit with the swirling thoughts and feelings... Worry. 

...She makes me cry. 

Sometimes out of worry, sometimes frustration, sometimes desperation. Maybe it's finances, futures, medical procedures... or just cleaning up a thrown sippy cup... I cry. 

...She makes me feel unworthy. 

I walk away from so many situations wondering if I did the right thing, was I good enough, could I have done something different... better?

...She breaks my heart. 

She resists her speech therapist, refuses to wear her eye patch, hits me when I tell her "no". She doesn't measure up to the "she should be able to do..." lists her therapists hand me. 

This little girl...

...destroys me. 

In every good and bad way. She pushes me to my limits and past them, she challenges me in ways I didn't know I could be challenged.

But my God, I love her. 

She has taught me so much about love - the kind of love I want to be able to give and the kind of love I know I deserve. Because of her love I not only knew what I was looking for in a relationship, but I also knew it was worth it. 

I will go before her and clear a path to make hers easier.

I will stand beside her so she never feels alone.

And I will walk behind her in support and in awe of her accomplishments. 

That kind of love, that real unconditional love...'s breathtaking.

And it's worth fighting for. 

1 Comment »

Her Fight, My Fight: #KnockOutApraxia

Monday, October 26, 2015

To learn more about the #KnockOutApraxia movement click here. 

To JOIN the #KnockOutApraxia movement click here. 

My fighter girl... 

...together we are working to #KnockOutApraxia

Awareness * Education * Effective Therapy

Add a comment »