A New Start for My Late Bloomer

(This story originally appeared as a guest blog I wrote for Kim Crabtree Stewart’s “The Mother Load.” Since it is about my daughter Audra whose birthday is tomorrow, I thought it would be good to repost. Enjoy!)

(P.S. That’s really a Halloween Oreo covering Little Orphan Annie’s eyes to the left over there. . . )

God gave me a late bloomer. Audra is my middle child, my second girl. She was preceded by the typical first-born sibling, my take-charge first daughter, Melanie. Audra was then followed by the baby in the family, a fun-loving, let’s-not-take-anything-too-seriously son, Casey. Yep, the typical compliant middle kid, sandwiched in between two strong siblings.

I remember her terrible ear infections as a baby and the difficulty she had learning how to talk. She mimicked others’ speech, babbling like a brook and attaching the important word at the end of the sentence: “Yabdanneubullubeindabaludna-cookie?” A couple of years later, Audra was formally diagnosed with learning disabilities. She has attention deficit disorder and also has receptive/and expressive auditory processing disorders. The latter means that she cannot always easily understand what is said to her and she can’t put her response back very easily into words. The words seem to get stuck, both ways, for her. Still do sometimes, though not as often.

Because of her communication levels, school was HARD. Public school was ESPECIALLY HARD. Real friends were a valuable commodity for her. It was painful for Al and I as parents to watch this happy, pretty-much-oblivious child go through life, taking her share of hard knocks. I remember the doctors telling us to be patient. We were told to expect her to be behind the eight ball for a while until she became an adult, when everything would eventually “level out” academically, socially, and emotionally for her.

She’s 24 years old now (25 tomorrow!), and she’s just about there. (Big sigh of relief.) She lives at home with us until the time she can support herself out on her own. She has an associate’s degree from Durham Tech (in a technical field not hiring because of the poor economy, sigh) and another certificate of training in another area (the internship and job opportunity never manifested themselves, another sigh). Yet, she works as part of the DPAC event staff and actually has a blast doing this. If you know Audra at all, this is right up her alley. . . .She is her father’s daughter.

She’s also begun to learn medical transcription under my tutelage and works from home as I do. Once she has enough experience under her belt, the doctor’s practice I now oversee for her will be her account alone, and she can hopefully go on to other transcription gigs or medical office jobs in the future.

Our children are not always “finished” when they reach the end of high school. Or even when they have a college degree hanging from their wall. Some special little plants need a little more sunshine, a little more water, a little more TLC to grow and flourish, to reach their highest potential. If you have been blessed with a child like this, God chose you for a special job. He knows you are up to the challenge, even if you don’t think you are!

The winding road thus far has been long. . .and full of potholes and accompanying tears. . but God is faithful, as always. He has listened to my heart cries as a mother, He has remembered Audra. And He is in the midst of carving out a “good place” for her to serve Him in this world. For this, I am truly. . .thankful.

Lookin’ up,

Sislyn

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