Doing a Happy Dance!

Brianna has been awarded her GED! She received a phone call last night from the testing center letting her know she’s completed and passed all the tests. The results and diploma will be in the mail soon. I asked her if she was happy or relieved and she said “very relieved.” The scoring took quite a bit longer for these last two tests and Brianna admitted she was growing more anxious with each passing day. “I’m finally done with high school,” she said, almost as if she didn’t believe the moment was real. I had to wonder how many times she’s dreamed of this, longing for it to happen.

Today I feel like dancing, like shouting to the entire world, “She did it!” I’m in awe of the overpowering joy I feel in my heart. This has been such a long journey, with so many ups and downs, twists and turns. Maybe now Brianna will believe in herself.

I’ll admit there were many times in the last five years when my belief in Brianna faltered a bit, but I never gave up hope. I truly believed she would reach this milestone. My only doubt was not “if” but “when.” At twenty years old Brianna is long overdue this achievement but the joy in my heart is so great that I really don’t care. It’s done!

Truth be told, this was just as much a learning journey for me as it has been for Brianna. I coached, mentored, encouraged, disciplined, prayed. I tried every conceivable idea I could think of. “You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink.” I struggled with powerlessness. I berated my parenting skills. I can’t count the times I wondered what I should have done differently—that number is infinite.

I don’t want to minimize the efforts of my other daughters, but the fact is they followed the “traditional” path through high school; one even finished early. Each daughter made me so proud with her achievements. But Brianna’s journey was not traditional and so great a challenge. She made so many bad choices and had to overcome them all before she could reach the finish line. The goal for each was the same—finishing high school—but Brianna’s accomplishment seems so much greater. To each her own.

Finally I can take out my big marker. Way to go, Brianna!

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