In 2015 our family celebrated two years of stability for my daughter. That might not be a big deal to most. For us it is huge. It means no phone calls to the police. It means no trips to the ER. It means no stays at a behavioral health hospital. It doesn't mean that we always have peace and tranquility in our house. It means we have those more often.
This past year my greatest accomplishment was finally getting an autism diagnosis for my daughter. Some might see that as an extra burden. I choose to see it as success because it means we have answers and solutions are on the way. Solutions like ABA therapy and feeding therapy will assist my child in living a fuller life.
Despite her challenges my daughter took two big trip this year. The first was a trip to Washington, D.C. to speak about mental health the representatives of our elected officials. You can read about our trip here. The flight alone was monumental as seven years ago my daughter had a huge meltdown on the flight coming back from the east coast. This time I was prepared. It made for a much smoother flight for everyone. The second trip was road trip to northern California to visit with a childhood friend of mine and her family. That trip was special because it reminded me of all the times that my mom and I went on trips together. Our trip up the coast of California was not without its challenges. My daughter and I learned how to figure out the curveballs tossed our way. Sometimes that meant getting back on track after losing our way. Other times it meant that I had to help my daughter when she was feeling overwhelmed. I really learned how to read her. There are times when I can push her to do more than she thinks she can. Other times when I need to let her calm down.
A big accomplishment for my girl this year being able to perform in a full length musical for the first time in five years. She may have not had a speaking role in "Mary Poppins", but she learned how to get along with a large group of kids. During the production of this play Princess only had two meltdowns. Both times she was able to turn things around and finish out her responsibilities for the evening. That's success in my eyes.
This past summer in between her activities I made time to take Princess to the beach so she could practice the fine art of Boogie Boarding. She mostly taught herself by watching others and feeling the waves. A few years ago Princess wanted to leave the beach after being there only a couple of hours. She found it cold and the sand was bothersome. She overcame those challenges. She actually looks forward to going now. This makes my heart smile.
I wish that I could say that my little business took off and is booming. It's not even close to being able to being profitable. That's OK though. I'm told that it takes several years for a new business venture to be successful. I'm learning from my mistakes so that I can turn things around. I also see this as more time that I can spend advocating for the needs of my daughter.
While I was trying to get my business off of the ground, my husband was finishing up his classes to become a certificated P.E. teacher. He's excited to begin teaching in the near future.
At Princess's IEP this fall I asked for the moon. I didn't get it. I got a sliver though. Hopefully she'll get equine therapy in the near future. This is something that I feel she will benefit from since she loves animals so much. I'm blessed to say that my daughter will be at her current therapeutic day school at least through the remainder of this school year.
In less than twelve hours 2016 will be here. I have no idea what it will be like. Whatever comes our way our family will handle it like champs. We'll take our cues from our cherub who's shown us how.
Here we are in Washington, D.C. advocating for changes in mental health.