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Of monsters and mousetraps: 2012

As holidays go, the new year can be complicated for special needs parents.

For one thing, the transition to a new calendar year represents a moment to look back, and that can obviously mean different things for different families.  We take the moment to measure our kids’ progress, or we realize once again that nothing much has changed. Some of us celebrate healthier kids, others look back on the new difficulties that have manifested themselves. Some parents look back on new babies and new challenges, others on unspeakable loss.

I suppose, however, that mostly the new year means thinking about the future. If that word, “future”, makes your stomach twist ever so slightly, or if in your head you spell it “The Future”, you may very well be a special needs parent.

For me, the past year was a mixed bag. On one hand Schuyler’s transition to middle school was much less stressful that we were afraid it might be. She’s got a team that believes in her and challenges her, and she’s found a place playing percussion in the band that gives her a sense of accomplishment and belonging.

But 2011 will be the year that we believe her complex partial seizures began in earnest. It was the year that her monster got a little bigger and her future a little more complicated.

For parents of special needs kids, The Future is a little like a giant mousetrap, with a big hunk of hope where the cheese would go. And we go for that cheese, because we need it. We can’t go forward without it, but unlike a mouse, we are entirely aware of the trap; we know exactly how terrifying The Future can be.  It can be its own kind of monster, and if we let it, it can sink our present.

So if I were to extend a new year’s wish to my fellow parents as we make our way through this world that is very much not Holland, it would be not just for good things for our kids, but also for the light to see those good things ahead of us. I would wish for the fear to diminish and for the hope to manifest into real positive development.  And next January, when you look back on 2012 in the rear-view mirror, I hope that you’ll remember a year that was filled with the very best things for your child and your family.

May 2012 be a launchpad for our kids; may it bring them victories and successes and happiness most of all. And may it bring peace to their families, particularly to the parents who love them without limit or hesitation. If The Future must be a monster, let it be a Cookie Monster.

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  1. January 2, 2012 |
  2. Kathy C
    January 2, 2012 |