It's been a few months since our oldest daughter tackled her latest position as part of the Mott Children's Hospital Teen Advisory Committee (TAC).
I wrote a bit about her initial process here.
From Naturallysweetsisters.com October, 2014 " For the first time, she will have an up-close view to how the world is full of many different levels of ability and that yes, while T1D does suck (her very eloquent description) - because it does (my description can be even worse at times) - the 'suck' could be very different in someone else's shoes. That couldn't be more perfect for a Teen to realize."
Interestingly enough, what I predicted is exactly what has happened. Through her participation, she has had exposure to much more than she could have ever imagined within the confines of T1d. I think it is truly a gift. But what is even better than me thinking that is watching her feel the same way.
As I drove her home from her meeting last night, she explained how being in the group was inspiring. She explained that when she realized that she was the youngest person in the room, suddenly, she understood that it was an opportunity. "Mom", she said while conspiratorially lowering her voice, "I have a chance to soak up all of this knowledge. It is like I am going to be in a mini-medical school!"
She then went on to share that she confirmed her decision to go on to medical school.
"I don't know what kind of doctor I want to be. I just know that I want to help. I want to be there for kids and I want to make a difference. I might even be a psychologist. I absolutely love my time with this group."
I listened to her talk about other highlights of the group interaction. Oldest daughter had volunteered to bring in an ice-breaker and she chatted about how well it was received.
"We laughed, mom. Some of the icebreaker questions were so funny and some answers were totally not what I was thinking. I thought it was so cool to hear how different some of the ideas were. Most of all, I was so happy that it got everyone to open up and share."
We brainstormed some other ideas for future meetings and she also explained that she had been assigned research homework for an app that the group wanted to make.
Finally, as we pulled into our driveway, oldest daughter quietly said this:
"You know something? This is the first time I have been somewhere and have felt instantly relaxed."
"Mom, they totally get me."
Thankfully it was dark, because her words lodged directly into my heart. I get her. I totally get her. But as mom, well, it leaves me as mom. She is savvy enough to think it is my job to agree. So I parked, walked around the car and just gave her a big hug while saying I was so proud of her.
In a while, when the timing is right, I will explain the deeper thoughts that I have about growing up. She is a teenager and so much of her world is consumed with cloning herself to match the others of hundreds of girls that blend together in the school hallways.
What she hasn't learned is that in life, the most amazing people are the ones that didn't perfectly fit molds. They are the dreamers, the designers, the doers, the risk-takers, the inventors and all of the creative and compassionate souls that dare to try. Those are her people. This is exactly where she should be.