“Oh my gosh, it was the cutest thing ever!” The teachers aid gushed, bending over and putting her hands on her knees. She popped back up and continued, “He was jumping up and down with his hands clasped over his head yelling “I did it! I did it!” We even went to get his special education teacher so she could watch his celebration and congratulate him too!”
“We make a big deal for every child that makes it into the 100’s club,” the teacher added, “But when Declan did it, we just fed on his excitement. The whole class was cheering like crazy!”
The 100’s club. A special way to encourage kids to learn how to count and identify the numbers 1-100. They get the numbers sent home in sets of 10. They learn the numbers and put them in order. They take the numbers to school and do it for the teacher. If they are successful, the next 10 numbers are sent home. Until, finally, they reach 100. When they reach 100, the class cheers as the child’s name is placed on the wall and joins the other names of children in the 100’s club.
I had seen some of the excitement when Declan came home from school the day he made it to the 100’s club. I go through his back pack every day after school. To find homework, notes or any fliers regarding upcoming school activities or events.
That day, when I opened his bag I saw the edge of the certificate. And like Charlie finding the golden ticket in his Wonka bar, I slowly pulled the paper out with a look of awe. I held the certificate for a moment while my eyes welled up with tears. I put the certificate down on the counter and wiped my eyes and now running nose. I took a deep breath, picked up the certificate and turned around to face Declan, who was now locating his device to settle into a You Tube video.
“What is this?” I asked with a big smile on my face.
“OH! Guess what?!?! I MADE IT TO THE HUNDREDS CLUB!!!!”
And we cheered, and we danced. We threw some high-fives and looked at the certificate with Declan’s name on it some more.
“That is FAN-TAS-TIC, Declan! Let’s tell Daddy!”
I put the certificate down, took its picture and sent it off.
When each child came home, and then Daddy – we all cheered again. Declan jumped up and down, eyes squeezed shut by the enormous smile on his face.
We all felt the joy. And the happiness for his accomplishment.
It made me think, though. I have two other kids that have been through Kindergarten. And although they had a different teacher, they all made it to the hundreds club.
I never teared up when the certificate came home. I never took its picture and sent it to dad. I may have given a high-5. Maybe a “Good job!”
I had never questioned “IF” they were going to join the 100’s club. The only question I had was “WHEN?”
For most things with Declan, there has always been an “IF.”
I went into this school year with no expectations for Declan, academically speaking. I know that may sound bad, but I didn’t. I was worried about the other kids. I was worried about the teachers supporting him not disciplining him. I wanted him to feel good, to be accepted.
So far, things are going well. And he is accomplishing more than I had ever anticipated.
I still have some “IF” moments when I look ahead. But I see a lot more “WHEN” moments. It may take him a little longer, but that is okay. He took the first step, and he did it! He joined the 100’s club.
Anything is possible. Declan is ready for the next step!