Saturday, January 14, 2012

Struggling to grow up

The appointment last week went well. Queen Teen was her usual trooper self and the doctor was actually helpful. And then a trip to the Disney Store made everything all better. She was grinning like ... well, like a kid who gets to pick out anything she wants at the Disney Store. And then we got pizza on the way home. As Queen Teen says, "No one can resist pizza." Overall, it wasn't such a bad day.

The doctor was impressed with Queen Teen. She's a 16 year old girl dealing with the typical adolescent challenge of trying to gain independence from her parents, while at the same time coping with the loss of hearing and all the rest of her disabilities. But she is managing to do this with strength, humor, and sheer determination. She is angry, and has every right to be. She's nervous and afraid, but at the same time willing to push the boundaries to gain more independence. Her body won't let her do the things other kids are doing; sometimes her body won't even let her do what she wants to do. Absolutely everything she does is hard work, including sitting in a chair. No wonder she lashes out sometimes. No wonder she cries when she has to go to one more doctor, no matter how nice the doctor might be.

I remember how hard 16 was; life seriously sucked ass. I had my own overwhelming problems that I barely managed to cope with, but none of them can compare to what Queen Teen must cope with every day. The thing she has that I didn't at 16 is a supportive family. She knows that no matter what, Rick and I will always be there for her. She is loved by us and her dad and her extended family. We've all got her back. Even on her worst days, when she's growling with rage and lashing out at everyone around her, we are still there for her. That's a certainty she doesn't have to doubt.

When I think about Queen Teen and her future, I am hopeful. It will never be easy, but she is an astounding human being, capable of far more than anyone expected. She learned to walk when we were told she wouldn't. Now she's learning to read after everyone figured it would be impossible. There is a joy in her that nothing can extinguish. And I will do everything I can to guard that joy. Queen Teen  impresses the hell out of everyone she meets. But the next few years are going to be tough. She's struggling to grow up and figure out her place in the world, just like every other teen-ager. Her place is a bit more complicated to find, but she will. She's that's determined.

1 comment:

dlefler said...

Adolescence is hard on its own - thank goodness that you and Rick are a proverbial rock she can cling to while trying to find her way in this world.