Monday, June 13, 2016


The girls and I went to my mom’s house last Friday after work to give her and my stepdad some strawberry plants. Tom ordered some and when they arrived, he found he had too many for the plot of dirt he’d dug out for them.

While there, I related a story I’d read on FB to my mom regarding an eighteen year old girl with 5p-. This girl said to her mom, “So I’ll be a senior next year, right?”

When her mom confirmed that she would be a senior, the girl went on with, “So that means next year I’ll go to college.”

Her mom gently broke it to her that she’d be in high school until she was twenty-one. She did say what the girl would do once she was out of high school.

I expressed my sadness for both the girl and her mom in this situation, knowing how hard it was for the mom to tell her daughter that college was probably not in the cards for her.

Then I said something about Olivia getting a job once she was out of high school.

The pity that showed on my mom’s face broke my heart.

I get the feeling that my mentioning Liv having a job broke my mom’s.

But see, I don’t think it’s an impossible dream for us to have for Olivia. I don’t think that Olivia is incapable of having and holding a job. I think she’s capable of learning and doing something if she wants it badly enough.

Perhaps this comes from my own place of privilege. I’ve always been told and believed I could do anything. I’ve been raising my girls to believe the same thing.

Am I being fair to my sweet Livie? I mean…she’s nine, she knows she’s got 5p- syndrome if only because she’s heard me talk about it and I’ve explained it to her in words I hope she understands. But I don’t think she sees herself as different from her peers. Not yet anyway. I think she knows that things are a little harder for her than they are for her peers. She knows she has to work a little harder to do some things but she’s never come across as task she can’t figure out or learn

Not yet.

But is it coming? Am I wearing blinders where she’s concerned? Am I in denial when it comes to her choices and the life that lies ahead of her?

I don’t know. What I do know is that I want her to be happy. Whatever happiness looks like for her, I want that. If it means a job, then I’ll work with her to make that happen. If it means living at home forever and figuring out how to achieve and maintain a social life, then, yes, I’ll help her figure that out too.

I get what my mom was thinking. I get why she gave me that look. But I also stand by my statement that Olivia can have a job at some point in her life. If that’s what she wants, we WILL figure it out.

1 comment:

Julie said...

Have you looked at Tri_State to see if they have any sort of college classes for special needs? I know Franklin College does because Mickey just got into the program. I know it's a long time away but it's never too early. Also, my mom used to work at a center that employed special needs individuals. That was it's sole existence. It's never too early to look into a place like that either. :) But honestly, I see no reason that O couldn't get a job in a mainstream place.