Ramona the Brave

I cannot believe the difference in Ramona the past couple of weeks. I mean, they are subtle differences, but I can see the changes in her every day. I’m grateful that she’s doing better. I love that she loves certain parts of school. I’m relieved…well, I’m relieved that she doesn’t hate life.

thumbs up, baby
thumbs up, baby

She’s making friends. She’s enjoying school more and more. At least most parts of school. Homework and test taking are a struggle in a couple of her classes, but we’re working on that. We’re trying to figure out what works for her. I haven’t said anything, but I’ve been wondering about a slight learning disability and maybe even some sensory issues that I didn’t realize before. I’m not get into that right now, but she works so hard studying and yet struggles so hard on her tests and quizzes. I’m not quite ready to give her a label. I’m also not sure that I’m right. But let’s just say that this mama is working on doing a lot of research to understand the way she learns. (For the record, I still have don’t really know.)

What I do know? She loves band. LOVES it. I had no idea that she would take to it so well. She’s playing the flute and can play Mary Had a Little Lamb like a BOSS. Her close friends have come from meeting them in band class. I even got to meet one of their moms at last week’s school event. Which makes me feel like we’re actually getting to be part of the community. (Bonus!) And these friends seem so nice! Like, really nice! I’m almost afraid to say it out loud, but no drama! (4th and 5th grade was fraught with drama. It was not my favorite.) She is thriving and absolutely adores her band teacher.

firstdayofsixthgrade

Last week my dear child got in trouble for her attitude and then grounded from her iPod and TV. Quite honestly, it’s the best thing that ever happened to her. I think she’s sleeping better. She’s not as distracted. She’s reading more. I’m not saying it solved all our problems, but my goodness she’s different without those two things. The Dude didn’t give her a time period of how long she’d be without the iPod and TV privilege. I don’t know how or when we’ll even start talking about it. But for now? It’s better for her not to have constant and easy access to them. It’s almost like her mind is at peace without them.

And in completely unrelated news, she got her very own razor this past weekend. Yeah…leg shaving milestone. Leg. Shaving. Milestone. Super not ready for that. I mean, she spent the day wanting everyone to feel her legs so that helped to bring things back a little bit, but yeah. These kids of mine are making me feel old.

Of course, it just took me several (SEVERAL!!) tries to spell “subtle” in that sentence up there so who knows? Maybe I’m just getting old all on my own. Looking into convalescent homes is next on my to-do list. Because of course.

Making Good on the Promise of a Teenage College Drop-Out

Edited to add: I wrote this a few days ago.
There have been some updates or changes to our plan, but I wanted to post this just as I wrote it. Education is a huge issue for me and my kids. But I recognize that what we are looking for is not what everyone is looking for. Which is 100% ok. 

 

I hate not having a college degree.

Like, ridiculous amounts of shame and ugly feelings, I hate it. It doesn’t get brought up very often, because in my crazy, perfectionist mind, it lessens my worth. Lessens what I have to offer. Which is ridiculous. But, in the corporate world…a degree is important. It gives you a leg to stand on.

So here I am. Legless.

I’m sure there is a joke there about having freakishly long legs and being legless, but I’m afraid I cannot connect the dots at this time of day.

Deep down, I know I have importance. I know that I am very smart (brilliant!) and I have a lot going for me. But that doesn’t take away the fact that it’s hard for me to promote myself, my skills…my obvious brilliance (kidding) without that piece of paper that proves that I’ve done the work and the necessary ass-kissing. (Kidding again! Of course you get through college without any ass-kissing!)

I knew it was more important for me to get a job and get benefits when our family was first getting started. It was more important to be able to survive as teenage parents than me getting a college degree. Timing is everything and of course a college degree would’ve helped us not struggle quite so much in the beginning. Maybe. And eventually, we were able to get The Dude through school. But I made a choice. My family needed me to do something different. And I made that sacrifice for my family. Because they are more than worth it.

But that doesn’t mean I still don’t hate not having one. Like always, I have a seriously problem wishing I could have it all.

I’ve spent the better part of motherhood worried about my children’s education. I’ve sacrificed lunch hours and spent so much time driving all over the place to make sure my kids have gone to great schools. I’m ridiculously lucky that my kids’ grandparents could help us so much with after school care and help with some of the driving, too, but we’ve always worried about where our kids go to school. A constant thought process and worry. Thankfully, The Dude and I see eye to eye with regards to schools and the importance of working our ass off so that our kids can have the best opportunities possible.

This may or may not explain why we are in the process of completely rearranging our life and location, in part, for a better education for Ramona.

Currently, we drive Beezus across town every day to the high school that, we felt, would be the best choice for her. That kid is a brainiac and an athlete, so we tried to find a high school for her that would fit her needs and get her into the best colleges possible. And it worked out better than we thought. We lucked out and she is absolutely thriving there. The next step for her is college. (And I will write more about that because DAMN.) We’ve done what we can to get her to the next step. I’m proud of her. And I’m proud of us.

And I want the same opportunities for Ramona. But I want it in a situation and a school that’s right for HER.

Now, I would hate to give the impression that schools where we currently leave are trash and awful. It’s not that. But they don’t offer what we’ve always looked for. And I don’t want to settle when we’ve already come so far. So we’re looking at our options in other areas. Areas where they happen to have schools that fall in line with what we hope for Ramona. Where, hopefully, she will thrive and be successful, too!

Because here’s the thing: I want a better life for my kids. I do. I want them to have the college experience I didn’t. They deserve that. And I don’t want all these years of sacrifice and hard work to be for nothing. Yes, of course they have a say in their life choices. But in our family? College is part of the plan. College isn’t a maybe. And maybe you think I’m projecting this choice onto my children because college is so important to ME, but that’s ok. I’m not telling them what they have to be when they grow up. They just know that college needs to be part of the equation. So that they have that piece of paper. And they can have the options I don’t have. These kids of mine can be whoever the hell they want to be because their hard work and our hard work has paid off.

It probably sounds crazy to a lot of people. But this is important to me. Because I made a promise to myself long ago that I want to make good on. And I will. I’ll continue to work my ass off and run around like the craziest of all the crazies to make that promise happen. There’s just no other option.