Kiele has always been an old soul. Teachers and therapists would stop me in school to share how lovely and mature they thought Kiele was. She's always been that way. Of course, the teen years struck and she did her fair share of talking back and hiding in her room, but that phase eventually passed. Then she graduated high school a year early in the top four-percent of her class. We moved to Japan. Kiele started the University of Mary Washington. She was mature and I was sure she was ready and in a way she was and in another way, she was not. I mean 17 is really fucking young to start college, especially when your family lives on the other side of the world. Then her implant failed AND the Disability Office failed her too. That led to one of the toughest years of my parenting. My heart broke into a million pieces as our texts dwindled to my texts in all caps and Kiele no longer answering. It was so fucking hard and I was doing all that I could from afar. We couldn't speak because she couldn't hear. She stopped texting because I was hounding her about implant equipment, medical appointments, the disability office, missed classes, and falling grades. The school year went on and her implant got worse. The Disability Office had me fuming, yet my hands were tired and there was nothing I could do. In my 17 years of advocating for Kiele, I've never seen such a disservice to a student. Finally, summer came and Kiele underwent surgery for a new cochlear implant. She ended up taking some time off of school, moved in with her Dad, and began working at Carousel Ranch, an incredible horse therapy ranch for children wtih disabilities, which was one of the best decisions ever. This past Fall, Kiele decided it was time to go back to school and we had moved to Williamsburg , which just happens to be 1-1/2 hours from Kiele's school. We now get to spend time with Kiele again. She visits when she can,on the weekends and holidays. And all I can think about as I look at Kiele is what a beautiful, kind, caring, opinionated, determined, confident young adult she has turned out to be. I share all of this because it hasn't always been easy but through the tougher times, I had hoped (with all the hope that I had) that the foundation was there and this too shall pass. And it did. The tough times passed and we all grew stronger and closer because of them. I have always said that one day Kiele will make her mark in this world and I still believe that -- now more than ever! I I'm so very lucky that I was picked to be her Momma. So very, very blessed!