My daughter is two weeks away from finishing a very successful freshman year at university. This last few weeks is breaking her heart, however, because she knows this is the end of her time there. She’s made the decision to move with her dad and me to Portland at the end of the summer.
My daughter’s home for spring break. We’re getting out of the house as much as possible, but with the brisk wind and cold temps, this may be a “break” but not really much of a “spring” for her. At least she doesn’t have 8 a.m. classes or professors glaring at her disapprovingly.
One of our favorite activities is to go to Target. Sometimes we have a purpose, sometimes we don’t. It’s therapeutic for me to wander through the clearance racks. We don’t usually buy anything, we just look. I can’t explain it, but my daughter enjoys this too, so this is what we do. This and Biggbys coffee.
I had my son two weeks past my 21st birthday. Having him brought me abruptly into adulthood, forcing me to be responsible for someone other than myself at a time when all of my peers were reveling in the freedom to eat Count Chocula for every meal.
When my son left for college four years ago, I grieved the loss of my companion, my champion, one of the people who knows me best in the world. In truth, I haven’t lost him; as predicted, our relationship didn’t die. It just changed.
The doctor’s office was located in a run-down strip mall, potholes and shifted pavement interrupting the parking lot. We parked in the handicapped spot, located conveniently farthest from the door, and navigated past the dumpster up the ramp comprised of 3″ vertical gaps between cement slabs. A sign above the door hung crooked and broken.
My daughter and I had come for an appointment set for her by the Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Rehabilitation Services. This appointment was an effort by the state to “gather more information” about my daughter’s “alleged” disability. The signed document from my daughter’s lifelong orthopedic doctor, her complete medical history and our statements (signed under penalty of perjury) weren’t enough evidence: they needed a doctor with absolutely no knowledge of my daughter or her disorder to make an assessment of how disabled my daughter truly is.
My daughter turned 18 a few months back. Long before she aged into majority, a wonderful old friend who happens to be a social worker with the state took me aside and gave me the inside skinny, the keys to unlocking the complexities of the social services system in this the “47th state”. I was grateful for the advice, and put on my to-do list all of the things she told me to do.
The above categories and questions are only my own personal ‘guidelines’ of what I consider before I get myself involved – I’m sure there are many other questions you may consider in your own mind!
Last night, Unbreakable Stride posted this incredible video of Nguyen Thi Phuong Anh performing on Vietnam’s Got Talent. Nguyen is a 15 year old from Vietnam and a member of the OI Family. Her performance awed the judges and they quickly moved her onto the semifinals! Read more about Nguyen HERE.
The other day, I was shopping for baby clothes for an expectant friend who’s having a girl. Looking at onesies and booties and footed pajamas, I was washed with nostalgia for the days when my girl wore tiny clothes, a phase that lasted for years because of the charming OI growth deficiency. It did save me money on clothes. As I fingered the soft fleece of a pair of booties, I thought “I can’t buy these–they’d be too hard to put on.” The footed pajamas, however, would have been perfect for my daughter when she was very small, because they unsnapped from the neck all the way to the ankle. As long as she didn’t have a femur fracture, they’d be great!
So here’s the thing: my daughter is small. Not just “half-Asian” small, she’s 24″ wingspan small. The combined effect of OI and half-Asian have worked their magic, and my fits-in-the-overhead-compartment-daughter is truly pint-sized.
Funny, I used to love the nickname Pa used for Laura in Little house on the Prairie, “Half-Pint”, and now I have a half-pint of my own.
She is, as you can plainly see, simply beautiful, and her diminutive stature is part of her essential beauty. She has a delicacy, an effortless grace that make her more than just superficially attractive. But her size is a real bone (HAHAHAHAHAHA! little OI joke there) of contention when dealing with The World.
We’re a week into the school year, and after the pre-first-day-of-school rigamarole went so incredibly smoothly, I thought the worst was over. I really thought that all we would have to figure out from here was the transition to college, a special and separate challenge.
I can be very naive, even at my age.
Last week, I discovered that the new special education coordinator isn’t as on-the-ball as I thought she was. In fact, I was shocked to find out she has some baffling attitudes about students with special needs. See if you follow this.