If you would have told me what the year 2011 would hold, I would have either had a nervous breakdown or just threw in the towel and begged the Mayan Gods to fast forward to 2012 so we could just get it over with. We welcomed a new member of our family, Gweneth, Chandler's therapy dog for autism, I graduated college, I got a divorce, I lost friends and family, and gained new ones. I looked back and wondered how I had the strength. I had so many breaking points I thought I wouldn't make it. Some of my worst moments in life, and some of the best- these changing of relationships. Endurance I didn't know I had, and love I didn't know existed. I have renewed friendships and a new "sister", and Chandler has a new best friend. I cannot say I regret any of the choices I made, because without pain how can you learn?
For Chandler I have seen some slow and steady positive growth this year. I finally figured out he knew his alphabet in sign and I hope that may be a key to unlocking him a bit more. Gweneth has given us the gift of going anywhere in town with no meltdowns, and a secure base for him to level his anxiety, kicking autism ass to the ground. She is the new glue holding my kids together when they transition to this new life. Normally I don't call out people by name in my blog, so we will use first name basis in here today with apologies ahead of time for undue embarrassment. To my CCI family, I love you, I love you. I was terrified about coming out to California, feeling alone and isolated, and everyone had beautiful, strong families that inspired me. We lived, learned, and laughed together and I will forever cherish those two weeks. My autism Camp Miller family, what an inspiration and one of the best weekends of my life. My smart, strong, and wonderful son Luke -we got to know a lot more about each other this year, and through growing pains, we found a new day also. Kate, who I lost and regained through some painful learning experiences for me, I love you with all my heart and you changed who I am. My autism family, I need you like oxygen, I recharge and draw my strength from you all. Sharon, my new "sister" who I have needed at some of my darkest moments and kept me going. Terry, who I can always count on to be there when I need him and to listen with an open mind. My dad, who didn't let me fall when I was sure I would. And Jerot, who taught me what loyalty, hope, and love are really about.
You know that scene at the end of the Grinch when his heart grows bigger until it breaks out of the barrier? That is what is going on in spirit with me this Christmas. I don't need any gifts this year. I have everything I want, and I'm right where I need to be!