Rock star treatment really rocks

Published 7:47 am Saturday, March 15, 2014

Editor’s note: Long-time Star-News employee Stephanie Nelson recently was named publisher of our sister paper, The Brewton Standard. Those who have long loved stories about her children will rejoice in her Brewton column this week. Grab a tissue first.

Transition at any age is hard – especially when going from the safe and familiar to something and somewhere completely new.

But, when they come home talking about feeling like a rock star, you know that things are going to be OK.

For weeks, we’d talked about the move, how it was going to work and what would need to be done to get them started at their new schools. We even did a tour of the grounds to get a feel for things and what their new schedules would be like so we could have a better understanding of what the first day would be like.

What we didn’t talk about, but were all thinking, was how would children take to Mia?

My middle daughter was born with a condition called Treacher Collins Syndrome. Cognitively she’s fine (a little lazy, but hey!). It’s a condition that affects the way the bones form in the face. She was born without any exterior ears, but has pretty normal hearing with a bone-anchored hearing aid.

We all know that children can be mean and say hurtful things that follow us into adulthood. That’s the real reason we were worried. Self-esteem is a fragile thing, and we’d worked so hard to build hers up over the years.

To prepare, the staff at Brewton Elementary did a presentation about Mia and her sister, Dianna-Grace. They told students about how they were coming from Andalusia and about how Mia was a special student.

I know it went over wonderfully. I know because even Brewton Police Chief Monte McGoogin commented about how his son came home talking about the new girl and he wanted to know if she belonged to me.

Monday afternoon, I was proud to claim her – and I was proud to claim Brewton as our new home. She and her sister came home talking about all of their new friends; about how they didn’t have a moment’s peace for someone asking to “be in their group.”

We have a tradition in our house. At dinner, we have to talk about the best thing that happened to each of us. Mia said for her, it was “feeling like one of the cool kids.” When she said that, I nearly cried. Finally, she feels like she fits in, and I couldn’t be more thrilled – or thankful to all those who made it possible.

As for Dianna, she said the best part of her day was that everyone called her a “hot chick.”

“I don’t know what that means,” she said. “It was kind of hot outside. Maybe that’s what they were talking about. “