2020, enough said right!?!? We have all been tested, isolated, confused and sad. We've all come to that place when life brings you to your knees (as one of my good friends always says). She used to tell me when I continuously asked why others seemed to have the perfect life. She would always respond with that phrase, life will bring them to their knees at some point and they will prevail. Well, if there was a year to bring us all to our knees praying for hope, for strength for perseverance, it's 2020! I've been humbled, challenged and tested to the very max, but guess what guys, I'm still HERE and stronger than ever! I'm standing, surviving and fighting for my son, my students and for my family. It's not pretty, it's not all smiles and giggles, however, we've had beautiful moments within the chaos, isolation and sadness. Those moments I make a conscious attempt to store in my "good moments file", in my mind. Well, and I take lots of picture and videos to the tune of 25,128 pictures and 1,112 videos, I mean it is 2020, the era of all the technology you could ever imagine. We are pretty close to the Jetsons...ok, so that's another post, but still very relevant.
We are approaching Miles' 1st birthday (this is not published on time so we are now after his birthday, but it's still relevant now) and he has reached so many mini-milestones, but I also can't help but feel a bit sad that he is still behind. I could write all the things he CAN'T do, but I won't, I refuse. For any parents out there of typical kids, you know the anxiety that surrounds the milestone checklist doctor visit. It's palpable and now imagine your child has any issues, delays, or "things to monitor". The celebration of being ONE becomes a high-stakes try-out, where you are praying, wishing and coming to the appointment with all the necessary papers/pics/videos to prove that your child can do some of these skills on the checklist. Just some...not all, just enough to not check, 'not yet' down the four pages of milestones lists. I make sure he naps and he is well-fed just so he can "perform," often to leave feeling defeated. This time I have prepared. I will NOT fill out a milestone checklist sheet and I will come will a list of the things Miles CAN DO, which is a plethora of things, mostly for being on this Earth for only one year. Which leads me to this...he is of the age where adaptive equipment is necessary. Of course, I want him to have the equipment. I want him to thrive. I advocated for him to have it, and even put the pieces as the only items on his "gift list." We were thankful enough to have received enough funds to purchase his adaptive chair, a brand new (more appropriate) high chair and a stander. He has already shown progress in the short time we have had two of the pieces of equipment, but those who have been following along-are you surprised? In true Mighty Miles fashion, he was one of the only children to smile and giggle when placed into the stander! He is truly unique in every way, they prepared us for tears and he showed us strength and happiness! It may be a "tough pill to swallow" to see your baby in adaptive equipment, but I'll take it all for that sweet smile and giggle.
I've known families that have children needing helmets, braces, wheelchairs, walkers and I have never looked at their child and thought any differently. I think if you asked anyone they would say that I was drawn to children with differences or unique abilities, because I could identify with it. I have taught many students with IEP's or 504's, because they have different needs. I have struggled with ADHD, anxiety and perfectionism, this is a challenge but it also was something that made me high achieving, unique and different. So, I really did something incredible and CHANGED the perspective, re-wrote the narrative for myself. I looked at these pieces of equipment as something that was going to make him achieve a different set of skills than another child. The adaptive equipment will be the catalyst in helping him achieve something GREAT, no different than the medicine, behavior therapy that I had that helped me focus! All of these helpful tools help us reach our goals. Our path may be unique, but it will lead us somewhere great. He already has inspired many of my families and friends with his progress and positive spirit and attitude! THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING! Mighty Miles is going to change the world, one perspective at a time.
Stay tuned for all the tips for throwing a Virtual Kiddo's Birthday! :)