I’ve been missing my brothers lately and I finally figured out why (not that I don’t always miss them since they moved out of state, but lately I’ve been wishing they lived next door on a daily basis).
Before I explain, I need to back up and share how Ashlyn went from the middle of high school to surprise-she’s-graduating…
When we moved, we were given the option to transfer her to a program that will concentrate on independent living and job skills next year rather than focus on high school academics. The stress of keeping up with a typical high school day and the thousands of high schoolers inside the building has been overwhelming for Ashlyn the last three years and, although she has done an amazing job, we agreed that moving programs was a much needed step in the right direction. She and I felt a huge sense of relief that her years of struggling in a general education setting would be over sooner than we had planned and her amazing autism teacher made arrangements for her to “graduate” with the current senior class so she doesn’t miss a thing.
Fast forward to now and her relief remains but my relief has changed to wait, wait, WAIT she is finishing high school? As in cap and gown? This is almost over? Wasn’t she just two yesterday?
I was a single mom to Ashlyn for over eight years, my immediate family was her immediate family. We lived with my parents until I finished college and my brothers grew into being uncles as they went from elementary to middle school and middle to high school. So just like you replay home movies on the eve of your children’s birthdays, I need to talk to my brothers about the days before Instagram and an iPhone full of movies.
I need to walk downstairs and laugh will my youngest brother about when I was in labor and he came flying home on his bike, cutting the corner through our neighbors yard, his bowl haircut blowing backwards as he sighed in relief that he had made it to hug me before I left for the hospital. And I need to head down the hall and lean against my middle brother’s door and remember with him how she rolled everywhere instead of crawling when he got down to her level and how he was the best pillow fort maker in the whole history of uncles.
I really did blink and she grew up and so did we. We really did have irreplaceable years together under the same roof, with Ashlyn at the center. And the chapter they began with me is almost over.
Today a girl from school brought Ashlyn home and as I saw Ashlyn’s thick ponytail brush the passenger window I wanted to turn and say remember? Remember the first time she got on a bus and she couldn’t even see out the window and she wanted to wear her bus tag over her pajamas every night after? Remember?
You were there.
Not too long ago I wouldn’t have shared the details of being a teen parent. I wouldn’t have claimed my story as I do now. I think being comfortable with the mom I am and the mom that I was will always be a work in progress. Yes, Ashlyn’s classmates’ parents may have 20 years or so on me, but I am finally in a place where I’m okay with that.
This story is ours.
I will be joining a panel of fantastic moms in a Google + discussion on how we handle being confident (or not so confident) in our role as moms and would love for you to join us. You can view the discussion live Thursday, May 30 at 9 pm EST by visiting here.
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