by Liana Jopson Brennan
An Update on Aliya
Praises and huge accomplishments lately in the Brennan household! This girl has just passed her driver’s test and is fully licensed! We are so excited! Years ago, it had not even crossed my mind that it would have been a possibility, but as the years went by Bob thought otherwise. In the past there were multiple calls to my coach on the days when I was ready to “jump ship” and I am so grateful for their support over the years. For those of you that are where I was years ago, just know it is possible. Persevere even on those tough days when you lose faith and begin to feel the goal that is set is just not obtainable. Do not get discouraged on the days you get lost and overwhelmed in the daily work and do not see any visible progress, because with hard work comes progress. Suddenly a goal is reached, and hope is restored, and we realize that sometimes we do not dream big enough!! This accomplishment created an independence for Aliya that will open so many more possibilities. It was tough and took long hours and many a grey hair, but I believe that to be true for most parents with a new teenage driver in the household. We believed in her, so she believed in herself and continued to strive toward the goal.
Her second accomplishment was the completion of her “Introductory to Pet Grooming” course. Aliya has decided to pursue a career in dog grooming, and this was the first step. The course was not local, and we stayed in an Airbnb accommodation while she attended the course. Aliya struggles with anxiety and was very anxious the first morning, but once there she settled in fine. It was very exhausting for her, but she was a trooper. She was not used to 8-hour days spent on her feet. Each night she came home, showered (she was covered in fur) had dinner and then she prepared her lunch for the next day. Aliya was responsible each day for setting her alarm, preparing her breakfast as well as ensuring she was ready to leave at our predetermined time. We were so impressed with her ability to manage herself without any reminders or intervention from me. Of course, we have been working toward being highly capable for years and I was thrilled to see her put it into practice.
This summer and fall we worked diligently learning skills and putting them into practice. We revisited some old learned skills that she does not use often, like ironing, as well as new skills. While Aliya was working towards her license, we taught her where the spare tire was located and how to change it. The trickiest part was lifting the spare onto the vehicle. This prompted her to work on her arm strength and build some muscle.
One of the biggest tasks this summer was assembling an 8 x 10 shed! Aliya was responsible for all the sub-assembly. It was a herculean task as it was shipped in two huge boxes with what seemed like a thousand pieces. She put her processing to good use by reading the manual, locating the correct pieces and assembling them. I make it sound like it was easy, but it was not. Did it take longer and did parts have to be taken apart and put back together correctly, absolutely, but it was a great lesson for both Aliya and her dad. My husband worked on his patience, it was difficult for him not intervene as he watched her locate a correct piece and then turn the piece around and around until she deciphered how they pieces fit together. With patience and extra time, the result was successful! I should note that it took all of us for the final assembly.
I may have shared in the past that Aliya is a drummer. She has been drumming since she was about 4. When my husband, who is musically inclined, thought we should encourage it, I was hesitant. How could she play when she was dealing with so many other issues. I admit that sometimes as Ellen alluded to in her recent email, we need to encourage our children and not hold them back based on our beliefs. Aliya is a talented drummer and I have no idea how she is able have all appendages moving in different directions at the same time, but she is! If I had let my limiting belief that because she was not able to do XYZ hold her back, she would not have been able to enjoy the gift she has been given.
Sometimes it’s hard to fathom how far Aliya has come and while she still has goals to achieve, I’m excited to see what’s next.
An Update on Aidia (Aliya’s Sister)
We could not be prouder of Aidia as she continues to amaze us. Aidia sets goals for herself and lays plans in place in order for them to be achieved. In February 2022 she graduated with a First Class Honours Degree from the University of Chester, in England, with a Bachelor of Arts in Musical Theatre. She then embarked on her Master’s program at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. In February 2023 she graduated with a Master’s in Professional Voice Practice where she also earned a First Class Honours Degree!
Being proactive during her Master’s program, Aidia began seeking positions while attaining her degree. She returned to the University of Chester, this time as a visiting lecturer on her previously studied course. Aidia then went on to work at the Arden School of Theatre as a Voice Lecturer, even before graduating from her Master’s program! It was such a rewarding experience for her to be able to work with students in a field she loves! She then was offered a position from one of the leading drama schools in the UK, Mountview, where she worked as a Voice Tutor. With her contract ending in the middle of the school year further teaching opportunities were slim. That did not deter her in the least, she does what she does best and was open to all opportunities available and broadened her skillset. Aidia’s newest position is Head of Recruitment, Outreach and Admissions for UCEN Manchester!