I am overwhelmed with emotion, pride, delight, suprise etc as I type this. My mama heart is bursting this week but in a good way. After our loooooong road to get here, it is sort of hard for me to take in. Sorrowful, heartbroken and pain ridden tears have been my life since difficult child was about 3 years old. He will be 14 in a few weeks. Hard to believe that I am finally getting these "good mama moments". difficult child has started and dropped out of nearly every sport or extra carricular activity he has ever wanted to try. He did this to soccer, baseball, scouts, volleyball, cross country running etc etc. I have posted that after he moved back home in October (away for 15 months learning mama means business and he should value his home life here ... lesson now learned) difficult child tried out and made the basketball team. He had some hard times sticking it out, wanting to quit when he wasn't getting as much game play time as he'd like etc. But he stuck it out and I'm so proud of him!! They played their championship game last night, last game to be played before entering high school next year, and they won 31-6. They went undefeated in every game all season, 16 wins. They won every tournament they entered this year. He is stacking up medals in his room. He still struggles accepting praise, always been a problem with him. His medals are in a drawer in his room, but I do catch him taking them out to enjoy looking at them. So inside he's happy and proud of himself, as he should be. So he finally saw something through, successfully participated in a team environment, and his coach? One tough cookie! He pushed these boys pretty hard. The icing on difficult child's cake? The high school he will be attending next year has a great bball team. Today at difficult child's school, some reps from the school were in to talk about picking courses etc. difficult child comes home for lunch and tells me he is happy that I talked him out of switching to a public high school and convincing him to go into the catholic high school like the other students at his school. He said he spoke with a counsellor from the high school and is going to be taking academic level courses in everything except math/science with he will take technical. He isn't strong in math/science so this level of course will be more at his level of capability. He said they set a guide for his next 4 years of schooling and that his goal is to take a college level one year (2 year condensed into 1 year) program to become a social worker/counsellor!!!!!!!!! He says he feels he has alot to offer struggling kids and teens seeing as he has come through so much. Oh, here I go crying again with pride as I type that. 3 months ago he didn't even want to face high school, refused discussion about college saying NEVER would he go, was saying he'd drop out when he was legal age to do so. My difficult child made a PLAN FOR HIS FUTURE! And he is excited about it! He has mentioned this often in the past but said no way because he could not "do college". He is also telling me that after his birthday at the end of March he is willing to cut his long hair to look presentable if I will help him to try to get a job after school 1-2 times during the week and some weekends. Cut his hair???? WOOOHOOOO!!!!! That has been a battle for years, I quit fighting it but I LOATHE his hair! So 4 weeks and counting until the BIG HAIR CUT! I figure after he cuts it, we'll hit a few places that hire teens (McDonald's, nearby grocery store) to apply and then I'm going to take him for a celebration lunch for reaching a new milestone and making such awesome decisions all on his own. To top this all of, the cherry on the icing of difficult child's day, the high school basketball coach was also at difficult child's school today, pulled him and 3 boys aside and told them to NOT miss tryouts because he will gaurantee they will make the high school team. So he's going to a school that I am happy with, right down the street from home. He will wear a uniform and isn't grouchy about that anymore. He will be playing high school bball. He is taking the harder courses with the exception of math/science even though he is not required to. He has a post secondary plan. He is cutting his nappy hair and trying to find a part time job. We have not had a single fight since he moved home. He went from 7 years treating his sister like garbage to treating her like a big brother should. He is exempt from french (due to his IEP) so in place of it he had choices what to take to compensate for it during high school. He chose a course on organization!!!!! He soooo NEEDS something like that. I am shocked he did this all on his own. I think BECAUSE he decided this all on his own he might just stick this whole plan out too!!!! Sorry this got so long. I have been able to brag the past few months that difficult child hasnt' been ACTING difficult child'ish. But this is the first time in his entire life that he is accomplishing something, taking initiative, excited about a plan, following through on things etc. Here I go again with the happy bawling. My cats are looking at me like I'm crazy. For all of you struggling, please dont give up hope. Many of our kids are going to grow and mature and learn better and do better. God knows I had this kid in jail by age 18 (in my head and heart). I never envisioned him even moving back under my roof, let alone with these results. There is hope there for all of the difficult child's and their families on the board. I am now in the land of "typical teen" stuff. Who'd of thunk it?? Melissa ..... Happy Mama Bear!