This one is for the Henrys

henryAs the school year begins to come to an end, I am reminded of a post that I never got to write last fall. Juliana had a race day at her school and while I wondered how she would participate, I wasn’t worried about her not being included. When I got there to pick her up that afternoon, the teaching assistant told me how she walked Juliana around the course. There were smiles and photo ops all around. Because of her, Juliana completed three laps and got to experience race day like all the other students.

Yes, I know she was just doing her job, but the pride and pleasure with which she spoke while recounting the experience was priceless. It’s not just that she helps my little girl walk around the school, eat her lunch and go potty. It’s the joy with which she delivers it. On the drive home, my mind just drifted. Gratitude is what I felt–for the wonderful people who help support and care for my daughter when I am not around. In my mind, I call them the Henrys.

Picture a flash of me in high school; a good flash. It’s 7th period and I am headed to Mrs. Mooney’s class to tutor. Because I was an aspiring teacher, I loved tutoring. But most of all, I enjoyed my time with Sean and Henry. In my limited memories of the two of them, I remember that Sean had Cerebral Palsy and was in a wheelchair. Henry was his attendant and did all of the writing for Sean and took him to all of his classes. I remember the three of us huddled together sometimes with Henry cracking jokes and Sean and I laughing. They are good memories and I never looked upon Sean as less capable. He just needed extra help and that’s what Henry gave him.

Back then, I was so clueless about what having a disability meant. And I surely didn’t understand anything about Cerebral Palsy. While I knew that Henry played an important part in Sean’s academic life, I never understood the depth of that. Boy do I get it now. I’m so thankful for the Henrys out there; they change my daughter’s life and world with every feeding, diaper change, and wardrobe malfunction. And I just wanted to make sure to get it on the record so that all of our Henrys know how very much they are appreciated.



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