Yes, we learn about life but so much more. I often say I use my children and grandchildren in my stroke recovery and it's true. I am now using all the learning strategies I taught with her with for me.
On the 20th of this month Stroke Tattler ran an article which I didn't post first here on my blog. You can read it HERE. The gist was dealing with the school system with a child I knew in my gut had a problem. Although it took seven years to find out the real answer to the question,"What's wrong with my child?" We found out and did our best to teach her how to cope with the traumatic brain injury which caused her problems.
A lot of damage went unaddressed in that seven years which had to be dealt with.
- Feeling stupid
- Low self worth
- Under achievement
- Inappropriate reactions
We reinforced the negative (slow, retarded, stupid) with positives (unique like God made you, ability to think outside the box, fresh take on an old concept). How she could take pride in being unique instead of being singled out from the crowd labeled different. The kids even copied her hairstyles. Thinking it was cool. All of this led to something we coined as "Jennifer Logic." It was strictly hers. It was logical although she went around curved lines instead of just straight A to B. The irony was she was right when she explained her reasoning.
|Jenn at Christmas toy drive 2001|
It was just a fresh take. It also had it's own brand of humor. Like this picture from high school. She had just ate lunch and was stuffed and she was an animal. So she got in the box. When someone said stuffed animals had hair and were furry. She let down her hair and fluffed it out. It was down to her hips and she looked like Cousin It still standing in the box marked "Stuffed Animals." "Any more comments," she asked.
But by feeling unique, it empowered her. Although she never wanted to be part of the popular crowd, she was. She was also the voice for every kid that had problems and befriended them with open arms because she was one of them also. She knew what it was to be different than anyone else and take ownership of it. She took what we taught her and put the Jennifer twist on it making it her own.
|Jenn in college 2010|
Everyone was brokenhearted about about losing her. She had this uncanny way of making everyone love her. The neurologist gave her the "any time now" speech and she'd best get her affairs in order. I held my child as she suffered and cried, "but I'm only 23. I haven't begun to live yet." Still she continued in college while we started looking for alternatives.
What she learned from me, never give up until you are dead and follow your dreams. What I learned from her, my words in action. While I had encountered several bad twists of fate in my life and beat the odds to achieve what I wanted, I have never faced death so bravely. She fought and fought hard in her own unique way.
|Jenn and her stepfather 2011|
|Jenn and James 2011|
I taught my children a lot over the years by leading by example, but they have taught me the same way. The coping techniques I taught her so many years ago have a voice in our daughter now as she encourages me not to give up and to keep trying. Could I do any less?
Nothing is impossible with determination.