Ariana’s Going TO University

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We often hear people talk about their majors and their successes as a right of passage. We think about all the years we invest in college and hang our certifications and degrees on the wall, but I want to bring your attention to the most important major. I am talking about the major that requires 18 plus years in the making and continues to grow even after we are no longer around.

We are our children’s keepers. Like a guardian protecting their sacred interest, we protect our children. We fight for our children when the world often tries to cast them aside. I know this because it happened to our 19 yr old after we finally settled down from our last duty station. It had been a hard 14 years for the girls due to their father’s constant deployments. We were like many other military families, and my middle child suffered for it. Did you know that there are countless children of military parents who are on some form of medication? There are a lot of children diagnosed with ADHD/ADD and an uncanny amount with ODD. When Ariana was 7 we had a military cop who talked to us about getting her a second opinion due to the alarming amount of things he had seen with meds and kids. The very first medication they placed her on was Concerta. She became so unstable that she was running out of the school and house. Her school asked me to come sit with her during instructions to help keep her from running out of the building. We took her off the medication and all the behaviors vanished.

By the time we settled down, she had been in four schools in three short years. It was enough to make her shut down. She started school in Savannah, GA. Then, my husband deployed to Korea. After he was in Korea he got orders for Fort Campbell. The girls and I went ahead of him by four weeks, and then the unthinkable happened. He was redirected to Fort Bliss.

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After he got to Bliss, his back gave out. They performed back surgery on him that left him 90 percent disabled. It was a horrible surgery, but there was nothing we could do. He could no longer lift 25 pounds, so he was no longer qualified for the Army. We moved to Garland, Texas, which was our final school after the madness settled.

Ariana shut down around that time. She was no longer interested in communicating with people. I informed the school that I thought her behavior had something to do with the numerous moves. However, we both agreed that something needed to be done because she wasn’t communicating.

The school gave Ariana an IQ test, which stated that she had an IQ of 65. I informed them that her IQ test was off, but they refused to believe me and said she would re-test later. The diagnostician stated that there was no way that the test would be off enough to make that big of a difference. I insisted that tests were known to be biased and that moving created another set of variables. Ariana was performing acts that were well above her 65 score, but people often think parents are just being parents.

Ariana entered Special Education and gained freedom from Special Ed English and Reading. After we moved her to another school, she was removed from speech too. We had her re-tested, and she was indeed higher than the 65. She scored high enough to have the intellectual disability label removed.

She lost time with math due to her moving back and forward. It created a problem, but she was able to regroup. We found out last week that and she was accepted by two colleges. We never let Ariana hide from work. She has ADD/ADHD and is not medicated due to her past issues with medication, but that hasn’t stopped her from doing well. She said from day one that she wanted to be a chef, so she will be attending Lamar University in their BS in Hospitality program which, is also a culinary program.

She was scared and didn’t want to apply to any universities because she didn’t think she could get it, but I told her to apply anyway. She has been in her culinary program for 3 years now. She has been through it all! From getting attacked to fighting to overcome educational hills, she has continued the good fight.

She was able to find coping in cooking and that made all the difference.

To those of you with children who are suffering from similar issues, never give up. Stay centered in their education and stay alert. Always monitor the work YOU see them doing. I remember at the start of the school year when remote learning was getting underway. I talked to one of her teachers who didn’t know us as a family. He informed me he would be her economics teacher. He later said that if she just attempted the work, he would pass her.

I politely told him that was unacceptable! I told him that I needed him to push her just like he would encourage any other student. Economics turned out to be one of her favorite classes because it involved money. I purchased books on economics and even quizzed her on definitions! She understands that we are great not by accident, but we are great because we try hard to overcome.

I have informed her that she might find herself studying in the library often as she attends the university and that she might need to get tutoring at some point. Yet, the tutoring is free, so it is hers for the taking! I will miss those moments of teaching extra lessons, but the phone is never too heavy to pick up.

For those who have followed her growth and story, thank you. She did it! Never give up on your kids and remember the most important major, is the one called parenting.

MOM Dilemma

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So, my daughter wants to go to a community college because she does not think she is smart enough to get into University. However, I want her to at least apply. Part of me wants to do the applications behind her back because I feel like she would gain acceptance. Yet, she has specifically asked me not too.

The only reason she doesn’t want me to apply is because she fears rejection. We have a 23 year old that is about to go back to college, but she will be online. I want my 19 year old to experience life away from home. I do not want her to end up like the 23 year old who is comfortable with staying with us until she is 30.

I have the devil and angel thing going on right now as I keep watching time slit away. Should I take matters into my own hands and at least send in an application to a couple of universities or is that something that the children really need to do on their own? I have been so used to being there at every little turn, but I do not know how to move forward in this situation. I do not want to step over my boundaries as a mom.

Any thoughts???

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The Pieces Of Childhood Our Children Will Never Get Back

We are coming to the end of the second month of school closings. As we approach the months ahead I think it is important for us as parents to talk to our children about their feelings and their anxiety over missing out on special events. Many of these milestones are once in a lifetime events which some will never get a chance to make up. Many of our children have had to say goodbye to relationships, trips , visits to their favorite teacher’s rooms and some have seen their prom preparations go up in flames.

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In my own children I can see an uneasiness that I haven’t seen before. My 18 year old talked about going to college all the time before COVID-19 took place. We found out that our Alma mater is offering classes to high school sophomores and up for 90 dollars per credit. One of the classes is Introduction to Sociology and there are a couple of other classes. We were excited because this was something our daughter had been talking about for almost a year. When we presented her with the idea, she had a mini freak out session. She didn’t want to go to college online and it didn’t stop there. She continued to explain if she could not go to school inside the classroom,then she wouldn’t attend college at all.

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My first thought was to insist that she would be enrolled in one of the classes, but then I started thinking about something. Right now her entire life has been turned inside out. While we are talking about college classes, she is still getting used to doing her high school classes online. I think we were wrong to press the conversation at this point because it brings a sense of long term changes that these children are not ready to deal with. It’s one thing to tell our children you cannot go back for the rest of the school year, but it is something else to tell them that their college dreams have been placed on hold for who knows how long. At any rate, I’m trying to be more thoughtful about her feelings and her fears.

Right now there are a number of adults freaking out about not being able to go out and get perms, nail jobs, or have happy hour with their pals. I would ask them to look to the plight of the young person today. It is a unknown road with unspoken fears. While many of us talk about the things we miss, we are at least in a position to get those memories back. Some of our children will never get to embrace the very events that helped to shape our school year experiences. The key word for this week in understanding. Understand that our children are dealing with the same situation we find ourselves in, but they do not have our knowledge of recovery. Have a happy week and be strong.

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