I wanted to let my daughter, Madeleine, know how proud of her I am. Maddy has had many struggles in her 15 years of life. She has been on medication for psychiatric and neurological illnesses (bipolar disorder, anxiety, atypical EEG patterns) since she was 6 years old. She is the oldest of 6, and has had to share her attentions with siblings since she was 15 months old.
One of her biggest struggles has been her anxiety disorder. A couple times in her school career, she has been unable to attend school for months at a time, due to her anxiety attacks. Most recently, she was unable to attend the middle school in our district, for 2 months. I was not about to home school her, and we were running out of options. My parents were kind enough to intervene, and offered to have her live with them so that they could school her, or send her to their district school, which was much smaller. We left the choice up to Maddy, and after visiting the school in their small Virginia town, she decided that she would be willing to try it out.
She attended there for a couple months, and did fairly well. She got to come home 2 or 3 weekends a month. Then, she started feeling her anxiety again, and really wanted to come home. She was homesick, and was starting to worry about the upcoming SOL exams. Keith really wanted her to come home, but I thought that she really needed to stick it out, so that she wouldn't get into the habit of running from every problem that made her anxious. We decided to leave it up to her. She, of course, said that she wanted to come home, but I reminded her how to make good decisions (make lists, think hard, and pray!) so she said she would take a little more time, thought, and prayer. After about 3 weeks, she let us know that she had decided to stay. She told us that she felt good about it, but she also knew that she would continue to feel homesick, and that she would need our support and prayers. I was so proud of her!!
She decided to run track while she was there, and had a wonderful season! I was only able to see her final meet, but she ran her fastest times at the meet, and I was just bursting with motherly pride! I can't wait to have her run again, this coming season, so that I can watch her fly!
But, all worldly pride aside, what I am most proud about is Madeleine's strong spirit. She has always had a testimony of the truth of the gospel, but since she has been away, I have seen it grow by leaps and bounds. She is one of the most caring young women that I know. She wants to be friendly and welcoming to other girls who are struggling to fit in (just like she has always felt), and has righteous anger for behavior that involves cliques and popularity contests. She wants to do the right thing more than she wants to fit in. Another way she demonstrates this is by how she dresses. She will always come and ask me what I think about an outfit that she is unsure about, as far as modesty goes, and will always change if she continues to feel unsure. She keeps her language clean and is faithful to her beliefs. I feel privileged to be her mother!
Don't get me wrong- we have definitely had hard times, and most likely will continue to butt heads about some things, but I am very glad that I came to the realization that my daughter is truly a blessing!