Personally I am glad to say goodbye to 2010, and welcome with open arms 2011!
Although it was a year of growth for all of us, and I recognize we cannot move forward without growth, we managed to do it the hard way. I am going to focus on what we gained this year, not on what we lacked, that is my biggest learning this past year…always focus on the good.
All three of my kids had a great year.
Courtney got into the college of her dreams, and is safely and happily ensconced in Philadelphia working harder than she has ever worked before. She is growing up and finding her way in the world. This makes me proud.
Tom too, is preparing to leave the roost. He is a sophomore in high school and recognizing that studying is a variable he can control in his quest to be an engineer. He has grown at least four inches, towers over me and probably weighs less. He has embraced all the mountain sports; mountain bike racing, hiking, kayaking, and of course snowboarding. This makes me proud.
Although the middle child, I saved Alex for last. She impresses me more and more every day, week, month and year. I see a proud, confident and bright 17 year old in front of me these days. This makes me proud.
Alex's sports have continued; Special Olympics, which included representing the State of CO in the National Games in July, as well as school sports and the other outside activities. Alex had her first job, as a child care assistant at the mountain, and loved it. Her academics are good, and I believe her team this year is committed to pushing and challenging her. Speech could be better, as could eating and personal hygiene, but we persist.
For John and me it was a year of transition, but in the end a great year. John has started his own real estate company and actively seeking clients during the high tourist season on the mountains. I am not actively seeking a paid position, but rather very actively immersing myself in initiatives that will improve the quality of life for others, specifically those with disabilities. This makes me proud.
This year, I fully understood one of the many lessons I have learned from Alex; she has taught me to give back. I cherish this and the many lessons she has and will continue to bestow on our family. I have always wanted to share these lessons, and perhaps help the next generation of families with babies with down syndrome as they begin their journeys, and maybe I can.
I am proud to say I have realized this dream and written an account of our journey. The book is called, "From Grief to Celebration, or How One Family Learned to Embrace the Gift of Down Syndrome". I will be giving back over 20% of the profits of this book to the communities who have supported our family and so many other families with children with special needs for years. This makes me proud.
If you are interested the book is available for purchase – From Grief to Celebration.
Yes, 2010 was a year of growth, and a year of self knowledge. In so many ways I am happy to have had the opportunity to learn, albeit the hard way, but I learned. Life is a series of events, none of which are coincidental, like a huge circle that joins, then separates, and joins again. Without a paying job I have found the energy and courage to do things I never did before. I feel as if I am coming full circle.
Here's to a great 2011 – may all your wishes and dreams for your futures begin to take shape. Thanks for all the words of support as I navigated through the rough waters.
Happy New Year!