On New Year's Eve my husband and I always host a party. Sometimes it is lots of friends and family and gets a little crazy. Other years, it is my parents, my in-laws, some of our siblings and lots of cousins playing. There used to be drinking games, but now, most years, a competitive game of Pictionary fills our night. Over the last fifteen years, my husband and I have hosted lots of different people, but the night always ends the same way...watching the ball drop, celebrating the memories of the past year and toasting all the promise a new year brings. I love tradition. I love a celebration. I have also learned, over the last four and a half years of raising a remarkable little boy with special needs, that sometimes life throws you a few curve balls and you have to learn how to roll with the changes.
This New Year's Eve, most of my house came down with a flu bug. Myself included. It has wrecked havoc on my normally organized existence and turned me into a couch potato during a week that is usually filled with dinner dates and fun times with friends. It has also caused us to cancel our annual New Year's Eve party. My sweet daughter was crushed with disappointment and cried because she has only celebrated this great night one way...with a big party and a very late bed time. But, the party had to be cancelled and we are learning to readjust our expectations and finding new ways to celebrate life's special moments.
As a special needs parents, my own expectations have had to learn to give a little. Over the last four years, I have had to miss things and learn that it is ok if things do not always go as planned. My special son Brady has taught me to celebrate little moments, because many times, they are so much more important than the big moments. I have learned to fight a little harder for what I believe is right and necessary for my little boy...and really for both my children. I have learned that there will be so much disappointment and really tough times, but there will also be so many celebrations. I have learned that a sweet, simple smile can say so much more than any words can. I have learned so much.
So as 2012 comes to a quiet close in our house, I am taking a few minutes to celebrate all that made our last year a full one. Our year started out very rough with my little boy's diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes in February. We spent weeks wondering how many more challenges our sweet Brady could take. We spent months trying to figure out the numbers game of Diabetes. We are still trying to make it all work, but Brady has made so much progress and is a healthier and happier little boy since his diagnosis. Brady also faced challenges with a rough start in his special needs preschool program and fighting hard for Brady's educational needs was a focus of our family's this past year. Brady handled tests such as MRI and EEG procedures with a new sense of strength. We found some answers and some new professionals who have helped give our little boy all he needs to live his life to the fullest.
So many special moments were highlights of this past year. As a new school year started in September, Brady found a teacher and team who have embraced his individual needs and all the unique beauty that makes up our sweet Brady. He has started showing an interest in toys and is constantly finding new ways to communicate, even without words. We see progress each and every day. We have found him tapping his toes as he watches his big sister dance day after day. Her passion for dance has given her a beautiful way to express herself and find so much joy. Watching Brady watch her do something that brings so much happiness to her, makes us all smile a little bit bigger.
has been another highlight of this past year. As challenging as life can be with a little boy who is nonverbal and struggles with so many special needs, watching his big sister love him for who is and for who she knows he can be, is something that I will always hold deep in my heart as this year turns into a new one.
So many struggles. So many celebrations. So many big moments. So many little ones. The beauty in a simple smile. The love that can be seen when a young girl reaches out her hand to hold her little brother's. The thrill of seeing your wobbly little boy climb the big bus steps all on his own. The excitement that can be felt when magic moments unfold and become reality. These are all the memories of 2012 I will celebrate tonight as the ball drops and I will toast 2013 because I know in my heart, it is a year full of so much promise.