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I have said these words a number of times since the ball dropped a few days ago.

Happy.

New.

Year.

This got me thinking about what it really means for me?

Does it mean that I should be happy? Even if I am not. Grateful? Yes! Blessed? Yes! But Happy? Not always.

Does it mean that we should face the new year with excitement? Even if the world is pretty crazy now? I am not sure.

Or does it mean we make these resolutions to do better? Be better?

I think for me, Each new year does not have that close- your- eyes- and- when- you- open- them- all- will-be- new- and- well-phenomenon that a simple flip of the calendar is promised to bring.

I like the idea that I can “start fresh” and the idea that all the stuff of the year is “behind us”

I like the idea but I think for me and for those who are raising children with special needs, we know that it does not really work that way. Certain things will not be behind us, nor will they be fresh and new.

Rather….

We will still be their advocates on January 1.

We will still be fighting for them and all the services they need on January 1

We will still be making sure that the world understands them on January 1

We will still be doing all we can for them on January 1

The gift of the end of the year retrospective that we allow ourselves, in my opinion, is that we can see where we may wish we were stronger in a certain encounter, maybe a bit more organized as we look for the latest IEP updates. Or maybe we wish we just wouldn’t have said that one thing in the heat of a meltdown. Those things are the ones we can look back on and be happy they are “behind us.”

Resolutions bring in the hope of a fresh start. So many people make them and assure themselves that they WILL do them THIS year. That they will adjust their food intake, switch how they look at fitness or move to that new opportunity.

But the thing for me, and I think for many who have special needs children, is that we are required to adjust, switch and move things for and with our special needs child at the drop of a hat. We don’t need to wait until January 1st to make changes. If X isn’t working, we find Y or if this IEP goal is too much or too low, we adjust. and on it goes. We make these new resolutions and changes for our child many, many times a year sometimes even in the course of a day.

I, myself, don’t make huge resolutions. I guess on my journey with Elizabeth, I have learned to evaluate and adjust for her needs and life and I think it has spilled over into the other parts of my life as well.

I have also learned, and it is another gift of Elizabeth, to be gentle with myself when I do look back over the past year…. to try not to wish I would have done this or that earlier or later. I try to know in my heart I am really doing the best I can for and with her each day. I need to know this in my deepest of hearts and I hope my words are ones others may need to read today as well.

We really are doing the best we can for our special children. So know that the flip of the calendar doesn’t mean you need to change all you do because all you did that year came from your heart.

Happy New Year and may you know, as I need to know too!, that we will continue our journeys…doing the very best we can.

I wish everyone a peaceful week and Please wear a mask!

Michele Gianetti, author of I Believe in You

I hope you remember me!

I am so glad to know you are coming soon! Children await your presents, but the adults are happy to see the end of 2020.

I am sure you know all about the pandemic we are in. The one that just won’t quit.

Santa it has been a year!

All these moms and dads have learned to be teachers, guidance counselors, exercise gurus and more for their children and families, so many while working! And all on the flip of a dime in March! My hope for them is to know they made a difference for their children and that even if it wasn’t perfect, it was still good because they did the very best they could. I hope they really really know that! I know I need to know that too!

I look at these beautiful children, those with special needs and those without, who had a life, a schedule, therapies and friends and who in one day learned a new life without any of it! How truly strong these children are in any given day but how much more so as they work so hard to accept the new way of life. I hope these children know in their hearts they are admired for all they are and for all their strength.

Santa the work done by all this year is breath taking….

We have teachers who had a classroom full of children’s faces and who want to teach, help and love them and then suddenly they are asked to fully plan the remainder of the year in a weekend! They are then only able to be with “their kids” on a computer. They wish they could do more. But these amazing people not only worked so hard to help each child succeed but when the computer was turned off, they looked up to see their own families needing them. Wow, I have always admired teachers but now, I hope for Christmas they know that we appreciate their super powers!

Santa watching our special needs children take steps backwards is so heart wrenching and so scary, I know I had to work through a lot of emotions this year about my daughter. I hope these parent’s know that they are not alone in their feelings and fears. Sometimes just knowing this helps a bit…at least for me. Our special children are so strong! I hope, Santa, that they know that and can be proud of themselves

When we speak of helping, Santa, I know you think of all the medical people who have literally decided that their lives take a second seat to the sick person in front of them. A thank you is not enough but it is really all we have to give to them all. My hope for their Christmas, Santa is that they know we appreciate them, pray for them and are in awe of their dedication.

We all know you like your cookies, Santa, but this year, we know with the virus that we should only give you a safely packaged version. I hope you like them!

As we lay out your treats, I can’t help but think how much we everything is affected by this virus. But Santa, we have found such unique ways of making things work, of staying connected and of trying to be there for each other.

My hope for us all Santa, is that we don’t lose the strength to keep doing those things as we get so very drained and tired of all these do’s and don’ts. Of all the restrictions and of thinking about all the things we used to do especially as we say “remember when we could….” I hope for Christmas we all get a boost of determination, understanding and strength to hang on a bit longer.

I hope this is okay to ask for so much but this year so much is really needed.

Thank you, Santa!

Happy Holidays And Merry Christmas!

Michele

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