December 20, 2013

"Cheers to an awesome Mom"

After three days of decompression, Alex the college student, has finally realized something I have been trying to tell her for 20 years…I am an awesome Mom!

Okay, I am kidding, I have no idea if I am an awesome Mom. Even after almost 22 years I still am guessing, still advocating and still bossy boots (Alex’s term not mine). But as Alex raised her lite mango lemonade in toast at the Red Lobster in Grand Junction, CO I wondered how I got so lucky to have three awesome kids and realized I am a maybe-awesome Mom.

But I digress. I met Alex in Chicago at the TASH Conference. It was my first attempt to gauge her interest in conferences and becoming more active in the disabilities world. At this practice run we ran into two well respected leaders in building inclusive communities, Beth Gallagher and Connie Lyle O’Brien, both who recognized Alex from our previous involvement in their community building and advocacy efforts. Note – it was Alex they recognized, not her maybe-awesome Mom.

Alex was also called on to talk during a presentation given by one of her professors about the apps she is using in one of her classes. Based on these experiences I would venture to guess we may have an activist in our family in the future. This maybe-awesome Mom will be saving her pennies for all the registration fees.
After a day of changed flights and long airport delays we arrived home to decompression. I was definitely not an awesome mom during this period, instead I was told I was a horrible Mom and Alex was not ever going to come home again. Luckily my maybe-awesome Mom ego was not too bruised as Alex spent this time in her room on facebook, listening to music.
The change in Alex is extraordinary. She is poised, confident and even more independent than when she left for college four months ago. Alex’s vocabulary has expanded and her sentence structure and conversational skills quite improved. Academically Alex was successful and her technology and writing skills advanced to much higher levels.
Two of Alex’s classmates and the TAP Program Director were also at the TASH Conference as presenters. This was my first opportunity to see how Alex related to her peers. I already knew from parent’s weekend that Alex has great relationships with her mentors but I was not sure if she was developing girlfriend friendships. I was blown away…..the way these three girls related to each other and KNEW each other is every mother’s dream. It was equality, support, caring and genuine. For this maybe-awesome Mom, hearing her daughter called Bender made we want to raise my lite mango lemonade glass in a toast.

College is the right choice for Alex, and this maybe-awesome Mom is so thankful she listened to her daughter and honored her dreams, just like her siblings.

If you have not liked our page, it is a good way to stay on top of the ups and downs of college (and inclusive education) for a person with a development/intellectual disability. I have no idea what is going to happen....but I will share the good and the bad. Please click on "The Ordinary Life of an Extraordinary Girl" now. 

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