2013 has been a strange and crazy year.
We had some great successes, namely sending our two youngest off to college. Our oldest was born in 1992, our middle child in 1993 and our youngest in 1995. Within three years we went from happily married professionals to the parents of three babies, then three toddlers and now three young adults, one with special needs. This year, John and I became empty nesters, which is the strange. And even stranger, John has been traveling a lot for work and I am alone for weeks at a time.
For 22 years every day of my life was about my kids, their activities, therapies and schoolwork. Never did I imagine this part of my life would be over in a flash, there were many years I thought I might have a breakdown with the amount of work that went into advocating for Alex, but we always managed to get by. And now that is a distant memory, and I am a different person, very strange to even look back.
Today, I am happy, healthy and excited about the next phase of my life. I work for a nonprofit and am an active advocate for people with disabilities in our community. Our journeys are strange and the paths we take crazy, but we have learned every step of the way and hopefully become better people.
Which brings me to my bucket list. For years I have wanted to get a graduate degree, but was never sure which direction to go, business like my father, or a profession where I can make a difference. I decided on social work and am in my first year of a two year MSW program at the University of Denver. I plan to concentrate on organizational leadership and social policy combining my business back ground with my nonprofit experience.
Aside from graduate school my bucket list is still long. I want to see all three of my kids graduate from college and find their soul mates. I want all three of my kids to find meaningful employment and find their dream home in a community where they are welcome and included. And finally, I want every family I have met over the last few years with a child with Down syndrome to be able to share my bucket list and find even greater opportunities in their children's future than we have found.
Here's to a 2014 of greater acceptance and awareness of people of ALL abilities in our communities, our countries and our world. Crazy? I think not.
If you have not liked our page, it is a good way to stay on top of the ups and downs of college (and inclusive education) for a person with a development/intellectual disability. I have no idea what is going to happen....but I will share the good and the bad. Please click on "The Ordinary Life of an Extraordinary Girl" now.