Friday, November 23, 2012

My 30 Days of Thankfulness

Lots of people have been doing their 30 days of thankfulness on Facebook this month—I knew I’d never remember to do it every day so instead I decided to devote a blog to this---after all I think it is important for people to know that no matter how challenging the days may be, I always have a lot to be thankful of.  So here’s my 30 days of thankfulness list:

  1. My parents: Although they’ve always been my worst critics, they have also been my biggest supporters and without them there’s no way I could handle what I do today. 

  2. My daughter: Ryley is fond of saying that we’re a team and she’s right.  We’ve been through so much together and while it breaks my heart that she’s not a little girl anymore, it is inspiring to watch the young lady she is becoming.

  3. My husband: I really doubt that Dan had any idea what he was getting into when he married me but he has never complained over the chaos that Ry and my cats brought into his life.  I am truly lucky to have an equal partner in this life through the good and the bad.

  4. Caden: I was really worried when I found out I was pregnant with a boy; I had no idea how I would relate to a son but in the moments following his birth, looking into his brilliant blue eyes, I was totally and completely in love.

  5. My education: while it certainly helps with employment, it has also given me the skills that I need to research all of the ins and outs and options that come along with having special needs kids. 

  6. 4 Paws For Ability: Karen Shirk and her trainers are heroes and the world is truly a better place because they devote their lives to improving and saving the lives of so many people through their amazing dogs; they are even able to rescue a few animals along the way which makes them all kinds of heroes in my book.

  7. Elf: It was given with 4 Paw’s reputation that he would be a well-trained highly capable service dog but I will forever be grateful for him being my son’s best friend and for being such a sweet ambassador that opens the door for other friendships for Caden.

  8. My fur babies: Each one of them has come into my life for a reason; sometimes they needed me and sometimes I needed them.  Each one, past and present, holds a special place and memory in my heart and I can never thank them enough for the nights that they keep my insomnia and heart company.

  9. The makers of Coca Cola: Lots of stress with little sleep is the perfect scenario for an addiction. I’m just thankful that my addiction is legal, full of caffeine, and oh so yummy.

  10. My online friends: I haven’t met any of this wonderful community of people but yet they are the ones who are usually first to help me with answers about autism, immune deficiencies, and sometimes just life in general.

  11. Plasma donors: Again I don’t know any of these people but if it weren’t for them giving up their time and a little of their plasma, my children wouldn’t be able to receive the life sustaining immunoglobulin infusions that they desperately need each month.

  12. The Immune Deficiency Foundation: They are advocating for and bringing much needed awareness to primary immune deficiencies and provide many of their resources to no charge to families affected by these diseases.

  13. Autism Speaks: While I know their organization is often involved in controversy, I am thankful that they are devoted to autism awareness and again I’ve relied on a number of their resources when I didn’t know where else to turn to for reliable information.

  14. Animal Rescue Groups: There’s so much cruelty out there in the world and while I wish I could safe every animal, I know that I can’t. I’m thankful that volunteers around the world devote their time and money to rescuing animals in abusive situations or in times of disaster.

  15. Ipads: My children spend a lot of their time in the car riding to appointments, waiting for appointments, and hanging out in hospitals.  Additionally we haven’t always had access to certain therapies for Caden and I’m thankful that we were able to obtain ipads for both kids that simultaneously educate and entertain them.

  16. Taco Bell: Strange but true fact, it is one of the few foods that always makes my daughter happy when she doesn’t feel well.  Sometimes when you can’t do anything else, it’s really the small things that matter.

  17. Super Mario: For providing hours and hours of entertainment and pure joy for my son. I’m thankful for anything that makes him smile.

  18. My son’s voice: When Caden went from several dozen words to only two and mommy was one of those words that disappeared, I wondered if I would ever hear my precious baby’s voice again.  Although he highly repetitive and there’s usually a word we hear a thousand times a day, I never take for granted his sweet sweet little voice.

  19. Music: Although I have no musical talent, I am thankful that others do.  Sometimes a great song and a pair of headphones are exactly the escape a person needs when a vacation or day off aren’t possible. I love how there’s always a song for my every mood.

  20. The kindness of strangers: There are a lot of nasty people out there but for every one of those, there are equally wonderful people who are willing to drop anything and everything to help a stranger.  Sometimes it is sending your sick child a card, other times it is holding a door while you haul a melting down child out of the store.

  21. Books: For as long as I can remember I’ve loved to read.  Reading is such an amazing escape and lets you go places that you might not ever physically be able to go; having a few minutes to read a book always feels like a precious treat.

  22. Bloggers: There are some amazingly talented people out there who so generously open up their lives to us and help us understand a disability or a new perspective and I’m so fortunate to call a few of those people my friends.

  23. Activists: I’m eternally grateful for the people who devote their lives to being the change that they want to see in the world. Without them, I wouldn’t have the ability to vote, the opportunity to obtain a fair and inclusive education for my son, the right to walk into stores with a service dog, and so many more privileges.

  24. Pictures: I love to be surrounded by my family and when I can’t, it makes me happy to have their pictures spread around my office at work and even around my house so that I am always surrounded by those dearest to me.

  25. Trampolines: While I usually hurt myself when I try to be cool and jump on it, it is the perfect outlet for both of my kids.  Sometimes it is a therapy device for my son and sometimes it is a stress reliever for my daughter but they always enjoy their time out there. Best of all, they both like to jump on it best when they are together.

  26. Therapists: From occupational therapists for sensory issues to physical therapists for sports injuries to speech therapists for communication challenges, some amazing people have devoted their time to improving my children’s quality of life.

  27. Teachers:  Both of my children started out school with kind, passionate, dedicated teachers who instilled in them the love of learning.  They both view school positively and it is entirely a result of the amazing teachers they have had along the way.

  28. Alternative foods: We have a lot of restrictions in this house (we’re vegetarians, milk protein allergies, soy allergies, gluten sensitivities, carrot allergies, and the list goes on) and although I cried the first time I tried to grocery shop with just one identified food allergy, I’m now immensely thankful for the growing selection of alternative food items at every day grocery stores.

  29. Blankie: I’m a secure adult; I can own the fact that I have a blankie. We’ve been through a lot together and I’m extremely grateful that it hasn’t fallen apart because as we all know, blankies simply can’t be replaced.

  30. “Old” McDonalds: Every Sunday morning (and every infusion Saturday), my husband brings “old” McDonalds home and we sit around the table in the family room and eat it together.  It’s probably the closest thing we have to a tradition and something that every single member of our family enjoys.