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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What a beautiful story and a beautiful family.
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Such a beautiful and deep text! And the pic is adorable as well;)
Lady Jennie says
Love, love, loooooooove. You know I think you are a brave mama, right from teenage onwards. Your story inspires me so much. Claim it! Do! 🙂
It’s claimed and not to be returned :).
Bad Parenting Moments says
Until I became a parent, I felt NO love stronger than that between me and my siblings. It is a bond unlike any other. Beautifully written as always, Jessica. I love getting to see these snapshots of your life and family as a new mother. It’s inspiring.
I wish I would have written through them a long time ago. I feel like I’ve captured so much of the little ones growing up but not enough of Ashlyn’s childhood because I wasn’t ready to share it yet.
Wow, just wow. I wish I would’ve seen this earlier and gotten in on the discussion. I am in awe of everything you’ve done and your story. Thanks for sharing it.
Kathy Radigan says
What a beautiful post! Congratulations to your daughter one her graduating. As a mom to a special needs daughter I can only imagine how proud you both are! I love that your family was so supportive of you both.
It’s so funny but I was just talking with my friend whose teen daughter had a baby her senior year in high school and is now in college. I can’t wait to show her this post, I know she will find comfort and joy in your words!! Thank you.
I would love for you to share it with her, I can imagine they are in a place where it’s a little bit hard to see how the future is going to turn out and truly it’s been better than any of us would have thought when I first found out I was pregnant so young.
hollow tree ventures says
“This story is ours.” I absolutely love your story, and the whole idea of everyone claiming their own story, living it and loving it for exactly what it is – their life.
You’re a mom, plain and simple. Family is so important regardless of when it starts and how it is shaped and you’re one of the lucky ones to have such a close knit family. You’re doing a great job! Keep up the good work 🙂
You have done (are doing) a wonderful job.
Your story is always so compelling. A teen mom to a special needs child? What a ride it’s been and will continue to be. xoxo
JDaniel4's Mom says
What a wonderful post! Time is fly so quickly with my son. This post reminds me to cherish those moments.
Your story is so amazing. Never stop sharing it with us.
Thank you so much Jessica
So very impressive – you and Ashlyn! Congratulations to you both! I am still trying to recover from kindergarten graduation. Thank you for the warning, I will start bracing myself for high school graduation now. xo
We have preschool and high school graduation next week, not sure how I’m going to make it through both! Hugs to you…
just JENNIFER says
It feels so good to get to a place where you are ready to own a part of yourself. To accept it, and even embrace it. Good for you, and congrats to your daughter!
Thanks so much, it has taken me a VERY long time to be comfortable with my own story but it feels nice to be here.
You get me every single time I read you. Just beautiful.
This brought me to tears…I don’t see my brother and sister often and I wish they were more a part of my kids’ lives. Beautiful. And congratulations to you all.
I wish my brothers lived closer, they have both moved within the last few years so we are all missing them.