Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014: A look back at what made this year special

   As I spend the last hour of 2014 with my family (I'm heading out to a friend's house for the New Year), I thinking of how much our family changed this year. We moved, Mac retired, Nixon started Kindergarten, I went back to work and Mac was the stay-at-home parent for a while. We also faced unknown behavioral issues with Nixon, taking on medical professionals and the school to get answers. The answers came and, for some, it'd be a tough pill to swallow for us it was a starting point. A challenge to tackle.

   This year was our year of change. While you never stop changing this year saw us change in HUGE ways. And through it all, we stayed strong. Mac and I faced the school boards together, a united front for Nixon. I dug in deep and sought answers. I faced the boards with information and a cool head. A task not always easy (especially when his teacher sat in a meeting rolling her eyes and dismissing me when she didn't like what I was saying).

   I was unwittingly given a new title. One of advocate. I'm not Nixon's advocate, to everyone. Not everyone will accept, see or understand that Nixon has Asperger's. Many people will see a child acting out, melting down and being disruptive. I see a child overwhelmed and unsure of how to process his overload. I have to explain to friends, family members, strangers who might ask and anyone else why Nixon is special. Why a trip home to Buffalo resulted in a giant-sized meltdown on Thanksgiving Day.

   But I'm not perfect. I have my bad days. I have days that I don't handle Nixon as well as I should. I have exhausted outbursts and annoyed exclamations. I have shitty moments where I wish he was just "normal". I have moments of weakness where I find myself envying friends whose children are riding bicycles without training wheels because Nixon can't even pedal a bike without using pedal straps. I have anxiety attacks when the school calls, wondering what Nixon did now and if anyone was hurt. I'm angry his teacher can't see beyond his actions. I'm hurt that Nixon is THAT kid in his classroom. But most of all, I wish I didn't have the guilt I feel every day thinking somehow I did this to him. I know this is not my fault, but life for him would be so much easier without these issues.

   So, next year I'm going to be more understanding. More tolerant. A bigger advocate, louder advocate. I'm going to embrace Nixon the way he is. Because he's a pretty fucking awesome kiddo! And he's my baby boy. (He said I can call him that forever!)

Mac's retirement ceremony

Nixon's preschool graduation ceremony
Nixon's first day of Kindergarten

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