Monday, December 3, 2007
My daughter, Jessica, is 17 years old today. It’s so hard to believe that the tiny 9 year old I brought home 8 years ago, the child who couldn’t walk or talk so that she could be understood, the child who was not toilet trained and couldn’t do any of her own self-care tasks, is today a fine young woman. Though still battling the demons that erupt as aggressive behavior from time-to-time, Jessica has learned most of the skills she will need to lead a semi-independent adult life.
Today, she can make her bed, do her own laundry, help with cooking and clean up, shop for life’s necessities, and attend to all her own personal grooming tasks. She reads simple books and can do basic math. She can use a computer, and loves to send email to her friends and family. She knows how to use a phone and leave a voice mail message if the person she called is not available.
One thing that hasn’t changed is her happy, vibrant personality. She is even more of a social butterfly now than she was 8 years ago, and she has very definite ideas about what she wants to do with her life. Other than the times when the demons turn her vibrancy into aggressions, everyone says she is a joy to be around.
With the proper supports in place, Jessica has a very real chance at a rewarding, fulfilling future. I am proud of her and all she has become and what she is yet to become.
Happy birthday, Jessica!