This new year is a year to feel positive, to be determined, to work intentionally, and to live life to the fullest. Where did all that come from? Well…
The past few months of 2016 have been hard for me.
- Towards the end of 2016, I felt like I had lost my way when it comes to writing. I had gotten some negative feedback about some work I had submitted and received more rejections. I have had rejections in the past…many. That is the life many writers have in hopes that one day someone will say “YES!” I am fine with that. I am fine with working to improve myself; in fact, that is how I feel everyone should be no matter what career you are in. As a writer, as a teacher, as a mother, there is always room to grow and learn. It was just too much to take at once with everything else.
- I was struggling with my special education caseload this school year. It has taken me half a school year to truly understand my students with autism, to make that connection with them, to understand how best to help them learn because each person with autism is completely different than the last. Finally, though, I am able to laugh with them, make jokes with them, take pride in their work, miss them when they are gone, and they are becoming more and more successful in their school work.
- I have also been struggling with TRYING to be positive about my mother’s condition. I don’t speak of it often actually. I don’t want people to feel sorry for her or us; I don’t need that. I don’t know what I need, but pity is not it. Perhaps just understanding. It has taken me a long time to even say: My mother has Alzheimer’s. It is a weird condition where if you haven’t experienced it, then you might not quite grasp what happens. Unfortunately, I have been through it as a child helping my mother and trying to keep her happy as she dealt with her father going though Alzheimer’s. So when she was diagnosed, it was hard to admit. It was hard to believe. It was even harder to see.
I tried to tell myself to be positive, yet over the holidays..she didn’t make her key lime pie. It sounds strange to say. It sounds trivial. However, to me, it was a breaking point. It had been her tradition for decades. She never missed a holiday without making her pie. It sent me the message that I can’t pretend to be positive any longer. She isn’t the same mother who is overly dramatic (in a good, giddy way), who loves shopping and feels every fabric in the whole damn store (it used to irritate me, now I miss it), who laughs so loud that you can hear her from across a large room or even a large restaurant. She is the same loving mother, but she is different. She isn’t as bubbly, can’t recognize who I am in a picture, doesn’t call like she used to, can’t drive by herself, and cannot tell you much of what she has done in the past day or week. I think I miss her laugh the most though.
After spending the holidays with my mother, I realized that I can MAKE myself be positive or I can BE positive….about everything:
- I can miss my mother’s old ways or I can celebrate the mother I had and enjoy the mother she still is. I will not waste our time together feeling sad about something we cannot change…I will not waste our time together.
- I can raise awareness and help others in any way I can find who have Alzheimers and/or family members of those with Alzheimers.
- I can be upset about reviews or rejections or I can continue to write for me. I can remember my love for writing and take it from there.
- I can work as hard as I can as a special education teacher and find ways to help all my students be as successful as they can be.
Somehow, everything feels better so far 2017. I CAN do this. I am laughing more, talking to my mother more, and my creativity is coming back. This will be THE year…THE year of positivity, THE year of appreciating what I have (not what I have lost or might lose or what I don’t have), AND THE YEAR OF WRITING!!
I am taking part in a writing/photo challenge on Instagram and am loving seeing everyone’s feeds! (Please follow along and join me! @inawritingday)
Are you taking part of a challenge? Comment and let me know!! Or comment and let me know how your 2017 is going! I would love to hear! 🙂