After the completely lousy, depression-ridden year I had last year, I had nowhere to go but up this year. So, I started my slow, steady climb up after getting out of the hospital on Christmas day last year. I’m not perfect–no one is–but, this year went far better than last year by miles, even though I felt my life came crashing down around me when I got transferred to another school. Without any further ado, here’s my list of…
10 Things to Celebrate About 2013
- I did not spend any days in the hospital. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch. That in itself is a victory. Last year, I got hospitalized three times. Three. One of those times, I went through a few rounds of ECT treatments, which had zero effect on my mood. Severe, persistent depression sucks. I’m so glad that, for the most part, I’m finally in control again. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will probably always suffer from depression and anxiety. Stress gets to me very quickly. I cry easily. I need more breaks than the average person. But, I’m soooo much better than last year. I’m so much more
present. Thank God for that.
- Squeaker made a ton of progress this year, especially with his behavior. His green days at school far outnumber his red or even his yellow days. I hardly ever hear about behavior, really. Instead of spending most of his time in the self-contained classroom, he now goes to a regular classroom for morning time, and a resource classroom for Math and Reading. The kids in the self-contained classroom were not on the same level as Squeaker, and he needed more of a challenge, but his ability to handle a larger classroom full-time right away was questionable. I’m so proud of him. He can read and add. I’m not sure about subtraction, but I got an app for that on my tablet and we’re working on it at home. He’s my little workhorse! He’ll do anything for some praise and he loves studying his words over and over again.
- Big Guy finally started potty training this month, so during the day we no longer use diapers. To put things in perspective, due to Squeaker’s Autism and developmental
delays, he did not potty train until about 4 years of age and still has accidents now, at the age of 7. This is no fault of his, but when I saw my friends on Facebook who had their children at the same time we had Big Guy already potty-training their children and Big Guy adamantly refused to use the potty, I thought we would go through the same thing again. I truly expected to wait another 2 years before he felt like using the potty. When he started communicating his needs, we jumped on it and in one weekend, we had it. Of course, it hasn’t been easy (I’ve heard things like “No want potty!”), but compared to what we went through with Squeaker, it’s a piece of cake. I’m relieved beyond compare. Talk about celebration!
- I’m truly present and enjoying my time with family this year, so I’ve actually made my children’s birthday cakes and given them real birthday parties that I remember (I could not, for the life of me, remember Squeaker’s birthday part last year). I may have gone a little over the top doing things for Squeaker’s party to make up for last year, but it felt really good and it went so well. Christmas will go excellently, too, since I will get to spend the whole day and Christmas Eve with them. I think we did a wonderful job with their presents, too. I’m excited to see them open them!
- Although getting moved to a new school felt like the end of the world, it turned out well. I wound up in a leadership position and even though I haven’t had the opportunity to change much yet, the possibility for change exists. Furthermore, I feel more respected at this school than I did at the other school. I’m also able to escape the stigma I felt stuck to me since no one knows anything about me. There’s something to be said for a fresh start. I’m strong and vital and knowledgeable. I have importance and I’m a leader. I’m thankful for the opportunity to start over and feel valued again, even if that means leaving the students I worked so closely with and disbanding the social skills group that I had just started last year. One day the need will present itself again.
- My back pain has gone down to a very low roar. For a while there, I felt the immanence of surgery, but my back finally calmed down with the last round of physical therapy I went through. I think, also, discovering my limits and sticking to them helped. The every day pain and suffering had grown so trying that I felt I couldn’t do anything for a long time, but now I’m able to get up and move again. I can play with my kids, and put away dishes, and walk. I still have to limit my activity because the pain comes on if I stand for too long, walk long stretches, or hold my children for too long; in other words, I still have degenerative disk disease, and I should act as such. However, I am functioning so much better than 6 months before now. What a relief!
- Squeaker’s karate class has really done him some good. He’s moved up in the ranks quite a bit since he joined. We make sure to save his belts and eventually we get him something special to put them on, but so far, he’s got his original white belt, his yellow belt, orange belt, and he recently got his green belt. He’s now well on his way to the purple belt. He gets so excited when he earns a new belt. He spends much less time misbehaving in class. He had some moments where he’s had to sit out. He does it sometimes, but not so often. If he doesn’t participate in class, he gets no credit, and if he doesn’t get credit, he has to wait longer to test for his new belt. But, he’s moving on up in the ranks! He makes us proud!
- Big Guy has graduated from the Infant-Toddler Program. He’s had an IFSP since about the age of 12 months because of speech delays, mostly. I went to a transition meeting and scheduled testing for the preschool program, knowing full well he wouldn’t qualify because he’s doing so well, but wanted to make sure. I took him in, and they did a screening first. He blew them (and me) out of the water. He’s so smart! Honestly, he doesn’t even answer questions for me the way he did for them. He knows so much more than I even knew. Talk about a proud mama moment!
- I have found side jobs to bring more money into my home. I used to work for a company rating web searches, but I got dismissed from that job when their guidelines got too hard for me figure out. One day, I read an article in Forbes about mystery shopping, found a reliable website that I knew wouldn’t rip me off, and now I’m mystery shopping! Don’t get fooled by how it sounds – you don’t just shop and have fun. You actually work and write reports and have to follow rules. However, if you do it right, you can really get paid for assignments. I have one company I’m contracted through that has paid me $25 plus reimbursement for an assignment and those are the sweet deals. I’ve had another that’s paid $59 for 3 hours of surveying people. My reports must knock their socks off, because they call me constantly and ask me to do jobs…for more money than what they offer on the website!
- Watching my boys grow up together. I can celebrate that every year, but this year filled me with wonderment because it’s the first year they’ve truly interacted. Big Guy loves playing with his brother, and Squeaker loves it when Big Guy copies him. It fills him with absolute glee. On the flip side of that, it totally pisses him off when Big Guy won’t copy him, but that’s another story. For the most part, they really play together smashingly. It’s totes adorb. Totes McGotes. Nothing’s finer than seeing your children laugh together!