Friday, May 21, 2010

I Blinked

This was written a few months ago and I wanted to publish it in recognition of Teryn's graduation last night. 

I've been doing a lot of 'spending quality time with' the kiddles lately.  The oldest will be graduating high school in May and it's made me realize that this is all so very fleeting.  Before I know it, I'll be a G word (ain't gonna say it, nope, can't make me!).  I am really proud of my #1 we (aka Teryn) and I'm hoping that she stays close to go to school and be a basketball star.  She has been offered several scholarships at some two year colleges and one at a university.  Let's hope she listens to mama and takes the scholarship at the university, which just happens to be close to mama and a warm meal and a free washing machine!!!

Thinking back on when I got pregnant with Teryn, I can't help but remember some epiphany I had just after her arrival.  I was 18 1/2 and scared to think that 'adults' had actually let me take this little life home with me to care for all by myself!  What the hell were they thinking?!?!?  And what the hell had I been thinking?  I mean, seriously, could I possible care for, nurture, protect, positively influence and otherwise raise this child alive to the age of 18?  That was how old I was and it seemed like an eternity. 

Needless to say I am shocked and awed that we're there.  She will be 18 in lees than 2 months and it blurred by, in a millisecond, the proverbial blink.  I get teary all the time now just thinking about how fast it's gone and how soon she'll be a grown up and doing grown up things.  Teryn played on a traveling basketball team last year, just before she turned 17 and I was a terrible wreck over it.  My to see the world.  They made it as far as New Orleans.  I held my breath the whole time.

I remember the little imp that started talking full on sentences at 9 months old.  She was such an adolescent even at the tender age of 2 when she would walk up to people and say stuff like "hey did you know my mom has a really wrinkly butt."  I also remember her struggling to read in the 4th grade and all the many hours in tutoring, vision therapy, and doctor's offices we spent trying to assure ourselves that our child was more than average. 

I remember racing to the E.R. one Thanksgiving night thinking she was choking and just knowing that she was dying in my arms.  She was so lifeless and her lips were tinged an eerie blue.  I'll never forget being made to stand outside while she got her X-rays because I was too hysterical and they needed to be able to work on her.  There was a feeling of relief out in that lonesome hallway and somehow I knew we would get a second chance. 

Teryn was fine;  her brain was not.  She was diagnosed with Benign Rolandic Epilepsy about 6 months later. She took meds and had several more scary seizures where she would go limp and convulse, then writhe as if in pain and pant until she would lose control of all of her bodily functions.  She would then "awake" and start freaking out.  We would hold her and calm her down and clean her up.  It was surreal, beyond scary and it took a toll on us all. 

The big seizures happened in the night;  the smaller ones were happening all day and we didn't realize it until she came home with an F in reading.  Turns out that kids with BRE can have break-through seizures that are so mild, they mimic symptoms of ADD.  We were told by the school officials to put her on ritalin and a tranquilizer to get her to sleep.  They knew about her seizures and when I mentioned that she might be having petit mals during the day and that her sleep was disrupted by the grand mals, they reiterrated the need for meds to "control and contain her behaviors."  We were also told that the school didn't remediate kids after 3rd grade and to just expect her to be on meds forever.  The principal said, "She'll just be average at best."

I was pissed.  How dare they say those things about MY child.  She was sitting at 4 months, walking and running at 9 months, speaking in paragraphs at 1 year.  Everyone always complimented us on how smart she was and how agile and athletic.  "When she grows up, she'll be a rocket scientist basketball star," they all proclaimed.  How could someone say that she would never be more than a fry cook or a dishwasher?  She was not average and I would prove it!

We took her back to the pediatric neurologist and he confirmed our suspicions on the petit mals.  Teryn's meds were changed and her teacher noticed an immediate change in her awareness.  Where she once seemed like she was daydreaming or unable to focus, she was now more alert, attentive and interactive.  We also got her into 3 hours of tutoring a week and 3 hours of vision therapy to help correct tracking and visual processing deficits that were a side effect of the seizures.

That all seems like a distant nightmare now.  It was nearly eight years ago that we started working with her.  It took Teryn five years to become grade level appropriate in reading and to catch up and surpass her peers and to leave all of the meds behind.  She had a rough freshman year after her father and I divorced, but she has since been an A-B student.  She will graduate with an ABOVE AVERAGE GPA and will go to college on a basketball scholarship.  I don't think she'll be a rocket scientist, but it won't be because she's just average.  She wants to study athletic ministery and be a coach and mentor to kids who want to play sports and keep to their faith.

As graduation approaches, I keep asking her if there's anything I can do to help.  I think she's just as much in denial as I am; these past 18 years weren't enough for either of us.  We both want more basketball games and algebra homework and staying up late on a school night to watch a sappy movie together.  I relish the time I spent growing this child and I don't want it to be over with the flash of a camera as she walks down that aisle to receive her diploma.  Now I realize that I want to be there forever, and it will not be nearly enough time to let her know that I am grateful someone chose her for me and let me take her home and protect and raise her.  I want her to know how proud I am and how very much I love her.          



Kelly marriott said...

Congrats Jen and Teryn!! You were correct Jen, I needed that tissue!! Glad you forwarned me!! You are a fantastic woman, and your children are lucky to have you as their guide in life!!

Anonymous said...

This will make anyone with a heart so very Proud to be apart of thier childrens life too and what great memories you all have had thru these LONG years and it seems like more years are headed your way! May God hold each of you closer then he has ever before and WAY TO GO TERYN!!

Anonymous said...

OMG girl I am still crying and dont know if I will be able to stop! You have a wonderful family and you did it! Love ya lots Charlene

Anonymous said...

Aww Jen! Congrats Teryn!