We've had some tough times around here lately. Last month, I had to advocate for Lukas in a really difficult situation, and I found myself feeling sorry for myself and sorry for him, sorry to have to deal with issues that don't usually crop up for typical kids. My kid, socially young for his age but big enough to look a year older than he is, can be totally misunderstood, and that makes me very sad.
Challenges like this skew my perspective. Everything is twisted by a negative experience, and it's easy to disregard the good things. My son has a disability that makes life hard sometimes, but he also has a lot of strengths and lots to celebrate. To start the new year off right, I want to acknowledge the things that are going right and the many blessings for which we must be thankful.
1. It's easy to take this for granted, but Lukas is healthy and thriving. There are so many children who are ill or medically fragile. Our small crisis is nothing compared to fearing for the life of one's child.
2. We have an incredible support system. Although our family lives far from us, they cheer us on regularly through phone calls, texts and Facebook posts. Then there is the family we have chosen, the network of aunties and uncles who are not blood relatives, but who love and support my kids as if they were. Even our relatively casual friends, parents of Marek's peers, go out of their way to be welcoming and inclusive of Lukas.
3. We are part of a fantastic school community, with a small army of teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, therapists, and support staff who care about our kids and do everything possible to ensure their success and happiness. I was nearly brought to tears at Lukas's IEP meeting by the kindness of our team, who clearly love our boy and want all the best for him. Being in a room full of people who so clearly care for Lukas was a balm to my injured heart.
4. Lukas has made incredible strides in the last year. He learned to ride a bike without training wheels and tools around our block with great facility. He moved to our neighborhood school from a different school with a special program, and he made friends with a whole new group of kids without batting an eye. He's just completing his first session of gymnastics at St. Charles Gymnastics Academy, and he is loving it and making progress. We're hoping this will be his activity for years to come. He also seems to be settling into the higher demands of first grade, complaining less and working more independently on homework. Lukas will never be the greatest test-taker, but his second-trimester MAP scores rebounded from the horror of the fall results.
Considering the whole picture, we have it pretty good. I'll try to remember that the next time I start feeling sorry for myself. And now, onward into 2015!