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Real Simple Essay Substitution Please

Real Simple Essay Substitution Please

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Published by Denise Meissner
This is my story-in-a-nutshell of how our family dealt with many challenges that seem to hit all at once...and how I chose to leave a positive legacy for our children.
This is my story-in-a-nutshell of how our family dealt with many challenges that seem to hit all at once...and how I chose to leave a positive legacy for our children.

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Published by: Denise Meissner on Mar 12, 2011
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03/12/2011

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“Real Simple” Grown-up Essay
SUBSTITUTION PLEASE!By Denise Meissner
 Did I miss the revised rules manual and play books that explain how to gracefullybecome a grown-up? Did I miss players’ training camp to prepare for the upcomingseason? Apparently I missed something because my transformation into a grown-upresembles that of an athlete who, despite good intentions and valiant efforts, stumbles andstruggles. My behaviors and choices increase our family’s stress levels, lower our morale,and challenge our willingness to remain teammates. There are other contributing factors,but I can only change my game plan and my performance level. One way to change myplan and performance is to analyze our family’s game film. It is painful to watch becauseI see: my overtime work hours break down my abilities to give my husband and two sonsenthusiastic and undivided attention; my exhaustion destroys my coping skills; and I see,hear and feel my family’s outbursts of anger and frustration. In order to keep my familyintact, I must initiate major half time adjustments. The first adjustment involvessubstituting my original definition of grown-up out from the game and activating a newdefinition. Unlike my original definition, which focuses on self-centered developmentalmilestones (ie. career promotions), this new definition describes altruistic efforts. For example, the individual chooses to initiate and engage in behaviors that demonstrate ashift away from meeting one’s personal desires and a move toward meeting the needs of others. With the decision to
shift 
my focus towards my family’s needs,
acknowledge
thatmy behaviors negatively affect our family’s emotional health,
accept 
the challenge to
 
create positive changes, and to f 
ormulate
a new plan, comes the realization that I amfinally a grown-up. Now what do I do? How will I repair the damage seen in the first half and revitalize our family for the second half?? Substitution please!It is the spring of 2004 when I make my first visible grown-up moves. Fearingwhat the future holds and dreading life without my beloved colleagues, I force myself tomeet with our rehab facility’s new manager to explain my new game plan. Choking back tears I express, “My family’s needs are changing and in order to focus on my family, Ineed more time and energy to spend with them. Please accept my resignation as Director of Rehab and my request to work part time as a staff occupational therapist.”Instead of feeling joy and pride with my new grown-up behavior, I experience anoverwhelming sensation of loss. Grieving, I stagger out of the meeting room, stumbledown the hall, and fumble for the door’s “push to open” button. Once in the parking lot,uncontrollable dry heaving and sobbing stops me in my tracks. Then comes the secondguessing. Will committing to this new game plan really help restore my family’semotional health? Will discarding my professional dreams and identity really help mychildren become grown-ups who work to serve others? Will my husband be contributingto this recovery process? Or will he be pursuing his career goals and enjoyingpromotions, awards and business travels? I am planning to soul search, research, journal,and work with counselors.
But 
I am also planning to deal with a potential backlash frommy family. What I am not anticipating is the magnitude of the upcoming stressors.Once the dry heaving and sobbing subsides, I spend the evening re-hydrating andre-fueling. These next few months will be challenging because I must maintain mycommitment to the new plan and regimen while dealing with four stressors that can easily
 
turn into future essays. Here are the four stressors: our youngest son’s blood test confirmshe has Autism; our oldest son’s dream to interact with a “normal” sibling vanishes; theemotional bond between my husband and I disintegrates; and my husband’s career advances…which means we move from Virginia to Texas!Once in Texas, it’s time for my next move. This one involves making the choiceto enlist the help of our community’s Autism Specialists and to learn new ways to dealwith our youngest son’s challenging behaviors. Within a few months, our family isperforming much better, both as individuals and as teammates. Our youngest son sleepsthrough the night, eats meals with us at the table, stops hitting/scratching/biting, and evenextends his arms to hold my hand. Our oldest son makes new friends, excels at school,enjoys soccer (despite the oppressive Texas heat), and demonstrates compassionatebehaviors to his brother. My husband and I begin to speak and behave respectfullytowards each other, participate in marriage counseling, and learn new ways to meet eachothers’ needs. We even help others who are struggling with their own issues. This is anentirely different level of play. It’s as if we are transitioning from entry level tointermediate level athletes.Gone are my rookie behaviors and choices. Gone is my original definition of grown-up. Gone is my original assumption that one must reach individual milestones inorder to feel joy and pride. Here is my reality, clearly and repeatedly proving that victorycomes in various ways…and victory requires loads of teamwork!While preparing for this essay, I decide to shut down the computer so I can watchmy oldest son practice soccer. He is participating in a week long soccer camp to preparefor the regular season. Little do I know that soon a soccer scenario will prove that my son

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