10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1….Happy New Year!  And with the change of the calendar , so comes the automatic lists of New Year’s Resolutions.

It seems everyone makes them.  The young, the old, those who want to fine tune their lives and those who want to almost completely revamp everything.  The funny thing is that for most, those resolutions are forgotten or broken by mid-to- late January.

I have never been a real resolution kind of person, even before Elizabeth was born.  I guess my logic was always why wait until the start of the year to make changes or adjustments?  Why not try to make those changes on say, a random Friday in June.  In other words, we don’t need to mark positive adjustments as things we do ONLY when the ball has dropped and the calendar has flipped.  It is funny that I was not this kind of person even before Elizabeth because, truth be told, I probably would have become this person after her arrival in our lives.

When you have a child like Elizabeth, who has special needs, you find your life changed forever.  The clear cut outline of developmental milestones and “baby’s firsts” are replaced by the ever changing needs of your child’s special needs.  No longer do you look at the charts and know what should come next.  You, instead, look at your child and wonder “what should we DO next?”

We are some 24 years into our journey with Elizabeth and as such, we have honed the skills of both assessment and adjustment.  We have become veritable professionals at keeping your eyes on the happenings of today and yet, still be able to plan the next step.

We have been at this for so long, that I cannot imagine doing things differently for Elizabeth.  I must admit, I often wonder how it would be to look at a new school year as simply the opportunity to get some really cool new school supplies ( I ALWAYS loved new school supplies….a new school year? not so much… but the supplies? YES), new clothes and starting fresh, instead of the checklist that we all do, which is talking to teachers about our child, hoping they get it, hoping they are listening, sharing information with our therapist and marking our calendars for the ever looming IEP meeting.  But this is the reality we all have to help our special needs children.  And truly, we would do anything for these special children!

But back to the whole resolution thing,  we have to adjust as needed, fix things, arrange things and make changes when we need to.  Therefore, aren’t we in a way doing the same thing as others do on January 1st?  We cannot afford the luxury of waiting for the crystal ball to drop to make positive changes in either how we see things, do things or function.  We are required to do them when the time is now.

So, yes, I get it, we are not planning a new fitness for our child with the hopes that they drop those last, pesky five pounds, but we are planning sensory diets that change often,  We are not vowing to put our child on a diet, but we do have to keep offering new foods to those picky eaters or to those on gluten free diets.  We aren’t promising to “think positively at each moment and breath through the stress” But we do have to keep talking ourselves through many tough and heart rate raising moments.

So for the moment, realize all you do as parents and caregivers to these wonderful amazing children. And allow yourself the luxury of not officially making resolutions because in reality….you already do them…and unlike those who try and let them go in mid January…you keep them going!!

I wish everyone a peaceful week and great start to the new year.

Please stay safe and get vaccinated if you haven’t\

Michele Gianetti author of I Believe in You: A Mother and Daughter’s Special Journey