PDA: Positive Developmental Assistance

February 10, 2009
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The person who has the most major influence on me is my mother, who was known to her friends simply as Lainie. My mother died almost six years ago. I was a thirteen year old girl in middle school. Although both of my sisters were away at school (my middle sister was in high school and my oldest sister was in college), and I was at a private/LD exclusive boarding and day (boarding for me) school in Vermont. It happened over Thanksgiving Break. It was exactly the day after Thanksgiving. I called my friends. (I even talked who I liked to call back then "the people who hated me".) They went back to PRS (Pine Ridge School) as soon as vacation was over but I had to stay at home in Princeton, New Jersey for the Memorial Service. Believe it or not I did not want to. I did not even want to wear black. But I had no choice in both matters.
My mother was always lively. Even after she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, in remission, and then diagnosed again, back when there was little knowledge on how to lessen the severity of it. On top of that, both times it was diagnosed, it was diagnosed late. She would go on walks with her friends, one who died on Thanksgiving night in 2008. Almost exactly five years after herself. She would wake us up, wait for the school bus with us, and then off they'd go. She would even do this in the Winter. She would have to pay the consequence by overcoming black ice first, but she was always strong and her slipping on black ice injuries were rarely anything serious. On weekends, sometimes I would want to come with her. On those days her friends would get coffee and she would get hot cocoa at the Small World Coffee shop in downtown Princeton. She wouldn't let me because they did not stroll. They power walked and I was young, had short legs, and I was not athletic at all. Later on in life I did discover that I could out walk my whole family. Even my mom.
When my mom brought her hot cocoa home it would always be half full (not half empty) and have a red lipstick smudge on it that was her hot cocoa "trademark" or "Lainie/Mom was here" sign. When she didn't look I would drink what was left of it but when she would find out that nine year old Julia had drank it all, she would just laugh.
The assistance my mother has had in my development can be found hidden in the above story. By living she has brought me life. She has also brought me into this world as well. By dying she was telling me that I was strong enough to live life to its fullest without her. I believe that she is still watching over me and stepping in when it is needed. As long as I still believe in her, her presence will linger with mine. When I was old enough she would sometimes help me navigate through downtown Princeton, (Of course, some credit should be given to her now deceased best friend and my middle sister). If it weren't for her time and patience For those first, probably most important, thirteen years of my life I would not be as independent as I am today.





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