I honestly did not expect things to be this hard this year. I expected lots of challenges. But a year ago, I felt invigorated, ready to work for my children and my family. I still work. Very hard for them. But the events and stresses of this year truly have drained me of every sort of energy. I feel like my fire has snuffed to a barely glowing ember. It's still there, but it's harder to get it sparking again.
It has been literally an avalanche of stress. With the hits getting heavier and harder as the year progressed, and my ability to block the punches, weaker and weaker. Yet, life presses on. The sun rises, my children wake up, there is still meals to be made and laundry to be washed. There is no rest. No vacation from life simply because you are in way over your head, or because your heart has been mashed and kicked and broken. I just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
I did not foresee being where we are a year ago. I really did think things would be brighter, running smoother, with a lot more knowledge and help for my children's challenges. Their challenges seemed so obvious to me since I was here in the trenches with them everyday, and I thought others would be better able to see them too. But that hasn't always been the case. And with little exception we are very nearly as much on our own winding down this year as we were last. Well, I do have A LOT more knowledge, but I still have several libraries worth to learn. And "professionally" I do have some help, some has been only marginally helpful, some might have actually caused more problems than it solved, but some has really been insightful and helped provide a much clearer direction.
One of the most important lessons I've learned is that while there are many professionals who can at times provide answers and ideas, we will always know our children, their abilities, their strengths and weaknesses best. Outside input is very valuable, but we as their parents have to decide the best way to use this input to best help our children grow and continue to develop.
One of the best resources I have found is other parents with similar struggles. I think we learn more form each other in general than we do from all the various professionals who see our kids on only an occasional basis. And the professionals who really care have an enormous impact on far more than just the children they personally work with. One great tip to one family can make a huge difference for dozens, or even hundreds, when that family shares what they have learned. So please keep sharing!
I do not know where I will find our family a year from now. Wherever it is, it's guaranteed to be an interesting journey. I hope I have learned enough lessons from this year to help us continue to navigate the next. And the truth is I still think things are going to be brighter, running smoother, and that I will gain even more knowledge and help for my children's challenges. For all of ours, really.
I am a realist, I see and expect challenges. But I am also an optimist, I can keep on trying to find the bright spots of each day and be thankful for them! Even now in one of the darkest times of our whole lives, we get warmed by rays of sunshine. Rays that keep emanating from the smiles and eyes and hugs of all the little people that I love so much it hurts.
Their sunshine through my tears keeps on making rainbows. And rainbows represent promise. Promise that we are not in this alone.
I'm determined to hang onto the One who gives "power beyond what is normal". 2 Corinthians 4:7