The other night, when I was cooking supper, G came in the kitchen with 2 pages worth of notes that she wanted to discuss. When she does this….it is exhausting because it is difficult to explain things to her. She does not process things the way a “normal legged” person would process them. If you wonder what that statement means, you can go HERE and I have posted on our conversation.
With her FASD, she either A) doesn’t understand what I’m saying B) doesn’t think it applies to her C) doesn’t realize the processes that have to occur C) gets her feelings REALLY hurt. I don’t, personally, like any of those options. We have been talking alot about her future past high school. She is almost 17 and she is *just* heading into 10th grade, so she is extremely behind. She caught up, some, while at MILITARY SCHOOL, but still not enough to go into the 10th grade. Now, this past semester, she has rocked it and I think in January we can advance.
G has some natural talents. She is very personable. She can talk to anyone. She is honing her craft in hair, nails, and makup. She is good with kids (for the most part) and she is tenacious. She had, at one point, decided to go to cosmetology school. That would eliminate the need for taking the ACT and she could be successful, have a career, and be able to live on her own (with some guidance). The last little bit, though, she has declared her intent of pursuing criminal justice. The things she is interested in (Judge, Federal Marshall, Forensics, etc) is just not in her wheelhouse.
I did not and do not want to discourage her in anyway, but I also do not want her to live in this fantasy world of hers. She bases all her “knowledge” off of movies, tv shows, and books….not real life and certainly not what is required to accomplish these things. So, as she named off her choices, I told her that she could go to any college, in KY, for free until she gets her bachelor’s degree….that that would not be a problem BUT in order to get into a 4 yr school (or above), she would have to take the ACT. That did not register. Now, for our local trade school or 2 yr school, she can take a compass test. This type of test just lets the administrator’s know if she needs to be in more remedial classes or regular classes. We know we have the option to have an aide (which she DOES NOT want) and the tutoring is free. I explained to her all the things she could do or would be good at…none of those things mattered because she is so tunnel visioned that all she can see is a field in Forensics.
In an effort to help her understand, I pulled up an ACT prep site. I read off the simple grammar questions (what is a colon, what is an apostrophe, what is a pronoun) and she did not know any of the answers. She was so sad after I went through a few questions and she did not have the answers. I explained what the ACT test was versus the Compass test and that one had to have a certain score and one was just a placement test. This did not go over well….so she retreated to her room. What I did not realize was was that she was in her room, crying.
I called her back in the dining room to see what the problem was and she burst open with sadness and anger at her birthmom for drinking while she was pregnant and now G was “reaping” the consequences of it. I let her go on. I let her cry. I answered her questions and then I took the opportunity to talk about crutches. I told her that I would let her cry for about 5 minutes and grieve the choices her mom made, but then she needed to go and wash her face. I explained that she was not going to use her biological mom’s poor choices to dictate her life and that God gave her things that is easy for her (hair and good with kids) that she is genuinely talented at and could be really good at, if she allowed herself. I gave her options in the medical field that she could absolutely do and be great at it. She was not going to use her FASD as a “poor pitiful me” person, but she was going to count it as a strength. Just because she can’t do something like be a Federal Marshall, doesn’t mean she can’t have a fulfilling and successful life. I told her about some of my friends who owned their own business and how much they love their job and are so good at it.
I told her that there was not shame in having an aide or extra tutoring because that was going to help her go even further without the stresses that college can sometimes bring. That by looking at her, you can’t even tell that anything is wrong with her, that she can be a success but she has to throw away the crutches, forgive her biological mom and then move on…..there is no reason to run the race of life looking backwards. We only get one shot at life….there are no dress rehearsals. I asked her if she wanted me to set the timer for her 5 minute pity party and she said that she didn’t need it. She asked for some help in researching and that is something that we can and will do.
For now, she is at peace. The enemy will not dictate her life….God has her. He has a mighty plan for her. I just get the privilege to sit back and watch from the side lines.
What is your crutch?