Looking on the Bright Side of Life

I know you aren’t supposed to count you chickens before they hatch – but I can’t help but feel good about how the kids are doing.

Kenneth has completed the first phase of the Transitions program he is enrolled in; life skills, financial literacy and drug awareness.  Within the next week or so he will take the TABE – which is sort of a pre-test for the GED.  It will help him and the staff know where to focus his  studying in preparation for the GED.  His caseworker says that Kenneth appears to be smart enough to pass the test by the end of the year.  That means he could be enrolled in Rankin Tech or ITT Technical Institute by the spring – working on a certification in computer programming and software design!  He is also going to be getting job readiness training and assistance to find a part-time job.

Kenneth has gotten himself to the public bus every morning, attended every session, and comes home happy and talking about what he learned that day.  The staff told me this week that he is very engaged, participates in class projects and discussions and has a lot of good thoughts to contribute to the group.  He is the youngest person in the class and the older kids have taken him under their wings.  He gets along well with them and actually joins the group during breaks to take walks or go buy a soda.

At home, he has been doing his chores without having to be reminded, is pleasant and cooperative with making dinner 3 nights and week and nearly every day has helped me with cleaning the kitchen, folding and puting away laundry, or straightening up the living room before we go upstairs for the night.  He greets me when I get home from work and asks how my day was and makes a point to come say goodnight to Tom and I.  He seems comfortable in his own skin and talks about how excited he is for his future!

Patsy, too, is making astounding progress.  She may still get upset and initially resist a request or get frustrated with a challenging task, but she is able to cam herself down, and not let these little incidences send her into a tail spin that lasts all day.  She has been getting up in a cheerful mood, getting ready for school on time – including making her bed, cleaning up after her self when she eats, and remembering to brush her teeth!  She comes home and gets to work pretty quickly on her homework and does her chores cooperatively.  She has even been getting ready for bed on time, often without having to be told to!  I think we both look forward to snuggle time just before she goes to bed!

Megan has become a fun, happy, silly teenager!  She is really enjoying school and talks a lot about how what she is learning is going to help her get into a good high school and go on to college.  She thinks she might want to be a veterinarian and there is a Magnet school nearby with a pre-vet program.  It is a pretty competitive application process and she is starting to think about what kinds of experiences will help her get in.  Our new canine family member has designated Megan as her personal companion and Megan has enthusiastically accepted the role.  Megan makes sure Gracie Mae gets at least 2 walks a day, keeps her food and water bowls full and is a training expert!  It is so funny – if Gracie doesn’t understand what Megan wants, Megan gets down on all 4s and shows her.  Gracie watches and does exactly what Megan just did!  We spend more time laughing watching the two of them!

On top of all of this good news, Cristi has been spending time with us and it has been thoroughly enjoyable!  We have made plans that she and her boyfriend, Henry will come over to visit and for dinner every other Sunday.  This week she requested Tom’s Totally Awesome French Toast – we are all looking forward to that!

I imagine my new commitment to taking care of myself is contributing to this newfound peace and quite in our household.  I make sure that I get to the gym for 30 minutes or more 3 times a week and every other Saturday I get 4 or more hours for me.  I have been making plans to meet friends for breakfast or lunch, do an extra long workout, and get my nails done.  I don’t know how to begin to describe how much this has improved my mental health and general outlook!

I am not completely naive, I know there will still be ups and downs.  It is just nice to be experiencing more frequent and longer lasting “ups”.

Copyrighted 9/11/09

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