I’ve always said that parenting my genius is a roller coaster ride… like when MJ was struggling with grades, was kind of miserable in high school, and then her science fair project on the thrust of rocket engines was chosen to compete regionally and then statewide. Last time I wrote, I was so excited about MJ’s internship. And while it was a fantastic and life changing experience it came to an unexpectedly difficult and sort of abrupt end.
In the beginning, they seemed so enamored with MJ and talked about the possibility of hiring her or at least extending the internship. She was feeling confident and great about her future prospects. But in the 11th week they decided that because there were some previously scheduled interns coming in, they didn’t have room for her. And, I’m not exactly sure what happened but it seems that the lack of structure and some blurred lines of expectations became issues. Yup, up and down and around we go.
Also, it took us a few weeks to realize that although there were so many perfect things about the internship, there was one major flaw. There was no one there to mentor her. The graphics person that had been on staff was no longer working in the office. So while MJ was doing a pretty good job with the projects they gave her, she had no one to give her coaching or constructive feedback specific to those projects. And more specifically, there was no one to guide her and help her project manage the creation of the video they tasked her with. She did a ton of work on it… shot great footage; created motion graphics; she even built her own device with a sliding arm to mount the camera on- with the ability to control it from her laptop. To make a long story short, she never pulled it all together and had to leave it in pieces with the company.
I don’t mean to discount everything she learned. It was an amazing period of growth for her. She learned a lot about herself and gained confidence in the things she’s good at. It sure seemed to me that she gave a boatload of ideas and definitely left there having made some very valuable contributions. She really enjoyed the camaraderie and team work aspect. She believed in their mission and wanted so badly to make herself indispensable. But it is a start-up company and they just didn’t have the revenue yet to be able to hire her, even if they wanted to.
The mixed messages and fluid nature of the environment there would be difficult for anyone to navigate. For a person with Asperger’s, comprehending what was happening was near impossible and she became angry at them and at herself. My mission was to shift her perspective to one of gratitude. In the last couple of days, it took a quite a few conversations to get her through to that point. She finally wrote them a beautifully worded thank you letter with heartfelt messages about considering them to be lifelong friends and gratitude for the opportunities to continue working together in some capacity or another. She is working on one small freelance project already and submitted rates for photography services she can offer to their clients.
The Pathways team did their best to smooth things over and help ease the pain. I’m very thankful for their patience and diplomacy. I’m thankful that they are keeping things moving along. We’ve already had 2 meetings with them this past week. The first was a review of how the internship went, what things were learned, what tasks she did, how her interests changed, and the things that went right as well as wrong. The following day we met with the whole team for the planning session for the next internship. In this meeting we were able to give them a lot of guidance as to what types of jobs would make a good next step. When we began the meeting, MJ was uncertain she wanted to do another internship where she would have to experience the pain of the break up at the end. We left that meeting excited and hopeful for the possibilities of what could happen next. Maybe it could lead to a permanent job, but she seemed to be okay with it being another internship that built up her resume and added to her learning experiences.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with THANKSGIVING let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
– Phil 4:6-7
All of this was happening with the bathroom bill chatter all over the news and social media. I haven’t said or written anything about my thoughts about it. I’m glad that it took a backseat to MJ’s career development. But her gender dysphoria is ever present. It is a very personal journey for us and one that we are not living out in the public eye. But there are times where I wish I could be more vocal about what I believe is right and to help educate people that really have no idea what being transgender is or what parenting someone who is can be like.
I want to more publicly promote the message of love and acceptance for LGBTQ people. I’m sure I will at some point, but to be completely out and public isn’t what God has for me right now. But I can do it here and in my every day life with the people around me. I continue to pray and follow His lead and to try to live out my life with the love that Jesus exemplified.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be THANKFUL.
– Col. 3:15
I’m still learning every day how to find peace, remembering that He is in control and to enjoy the ride. Parenting is like a roller coaster ride. It’s terrifying at times! But, it is never boring and I sure do love my family and I am thankful (usually) for this crazy up and down life we lead.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
– James 1:2-4