Gracie had her first-ever ballet class today. She worked so hard. She tried to listen and follow directions and do everything the teacher asked of her. She had a helper – it’s the only way she could have done the class – but she did great! She got tired about 10 minutes before the end of the class, which isn’t surprising since she has to work so much harder to do the things that are natural for the other kids. Overall, though, I am hopeful for her.

As optimistic as this sounds, I have to admit that it was bittersweet to see her with the other girls. The others were running around the room, twirling and jumping and standing on tip-toes, and she needed a helper just to stand up. She will never be a prima ballerina. She will barely be able to keep up with the other kids in the class, even with a helper. But she can try – she has a chance to do something that would be impossible for her without help and an open-minded owner.

And then, something else happened today too. Something terrible. Grace was at her school for blind kids, and I got a phone call to pick her up because she was having bad behavior. The teacher told me on the phone that she was not listening and it had been 10 minutes, so I needed to come get her. By the time I got to school, I had decided that she would never return. I cleared out her cubby, grabbed her walker and her diapers, and took her home. For good.

The whole thing with her school was like a bad breakup. The school broke up with us, and we were trying to make it work until we could find a new apartment, but we just had to get out of there today – this instant – we should have done it from the beginning. I sent a nastygram to the executive director about discrimination (don’t piss off a mama bear who can write!), said goodbye to the people who care about us, and left. We will never go back. NEVER. You can’t go back to someone who’s broken up with you; it’s just not healthy. So we will turn away from this school I once called a Godsend and start forging a new path. We will find a new way. It’s a relief to be done with it, actually. The healing can begin.

Things are starting to look up.

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