Training a Brain

posted by Momo Fali on April 4, 2013

My 14 year old daughter came into this world 10 weeks early as a 2 lb. 9 oz. preemie; she was on a respirator, aspirated her first bottle of breastmilk, had a cyst in her brain, and spent 5 weeks in the hospital. It was kind of a bumpy start.

When she was 3 years old, her little brother was born. He, too, was a preemie and although he weighed a whole pound more than his big sister, he was very sick. The first few years of his life threw our family into an upheaval that only a family with medical problems can understand. Constant doctor visits, hospital stays, therapy, illnesses, and surgeries are not an easy thing for a young child to comprehend. Little brothers are supposed to be picked-upon, not danced around, gently, being careful not to knock out his IV.

But, through it all, our daughter has found a way to be a typical child…and so much more. Since she was in kindergarten she has played sports; lots of them. She’s been in school musicals, served at church, volunteered for charities, been a tech assistant, lab assistant, and been on the Honor Roll more times than her father and I combined.

You know how sometimes things just fall into place without you making much effort? That’s what happened here. I’ve never had to push her and I’m pretty sure if I had put her at the curb when she was 2 years old, she would have raised herself.

But, now? Now I’m pushing. Much like when a coach sees natural talent in an athlete and trains them for greatness, I’m doing the same thing…with my daughter’s brain.

She is smart. She’s wicked smart. She got the highest scores you could get on standardized tests for math and language. And, after taking a scholar search test, she placed in one of the top spots of her incoming freshman class. She was awarded a partial scholarship and an invitation to test at the next level. I’ve never been in the top 10 of anything in my life. Y’all, I AM PROUD.

So, yes, I’m pushing. If she doesn’t get past this next round that’s okay…REALLY. I don’t want her to feel pressure, but I don’t want her to waste what she has either. She can be anything she wants to be and having the freedom to choose her path is just the kind of empowerment I wish for her. Not everyone can decide between being an entrepreneur or an astrophysicist. Maybe she’ll be both

Do I know what I’m doing? No. Do I have any experience? No. Am I going to do my best to make sure she recognizes the strength she has? Yes.

We don’t know what the future holds, but I am certain of a few things; my daughter is amazing, I have never been more proud and, clearly, no man will ever be good enough for her.


  • twobusy

    That’s absolutely fantastic ā€” and you have EVERY reason to brag.

  • Ginger Kay

    This is definitely brag-worthy! Congratulations to your daughter on her achievement and best wishes for the next level of testing.

    (And it’s okay to push a bit. Not always, but now sounds like a good time.)

  • Joan

    Congrats to your daughter on all her achievements. You have every right to brag and seem to know how far to push. It’s wonderful how much she has accomplished and how bright her future looks! Congrats again, to all of you.

  • Shannon

    I am so glad you wrote this post! Beam with pride – you have such reason to.
    I understand so much the idea of balancing on that fine line between expecting too little and expecting too much.
    Good luck to her! And YAY for you both!

  • Arnebya

    You’re right. Maybe she’ll be both — and more. There is no limit to the things she can do; you have shown her that, she knows it, and she will run with it.

  • Liz

    Way to go, the both of yuhs!!!

  • Anna Hettick

    Congrats to you both!! You have every right to be proud and to push when you think she needs it. šŸ™‚ Best wishes on what’s next!

  • Melisa

    Hurray for your whole family!

    That girl you have is very, very special, and I’m happy to know her. I know she’s going to soar, and even if *maybe* she would have soared on her own if you had left her on a curb somewhere, with you and the rest of the family behind her, she’ll really reach for the stars. xoxo

  • D.

    She sounds like a wonderful young lady, and I think it’s awesome that you’re helping her understand the potential she has and encouraging her to use it!

  • Jenifer Filia

    I have tears welling up in my eyes… are lucky to have an amazing young lady but I have to say, Diane, she has to be one of the luckiest little girls in the entire world to have you as her mother. You don’t give yourself enough credit! God put her with you and you with her for a reason! You both are amazingly blessed! Xoxo

    • Momo Fali

      Oh, trust me. I would take credit if I thought it was due!

  • tara

    Heck yes!!! Brag on, proud mama! That is so awesome that she did so awesome on her tests!

    Being a woman in a predominantly male field, it always makes me so so so excited/proud to hear about other young ladies kicking ass. And your daughter is definitely kicking ass!! Wooohoooo!!

  • Carolyn Dingman

    I don’t think it counts as bragging when it’s all true. I LOVE hearing the great things about the kids. You just push push push and catch her if she falls.

  • BusyDad

    I never met her, but I am proud of her too by proxy! And seriously? You were one of my Cre8Buzz “Top 8”. It’s like you don’t even care.

  • AlisonH

    Love love love it. Give her a hug from me and tell her how proud I am, too.

  • meleah rebeccah

    Awwww. You SHOULD be proud!! Your daughter is awesome!

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