Just a quick note before I jump right in here… We celebrate Christmas in our household. It’s been a part of our collective family since Day 1, and both Kirk and I grew up celebrating Christmas. That doesn’t mean any other holiday is any less important than Christmas-- it only means that we refer to Christmas because it’s what we celebrate. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Chaunukah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, Festivus or any of the countless other holidays that fall at this time of year, we wish you the best holiday you could hope for!
Dear family, friends and internet strangers,
It’s that time of year again—time for giving…Time to enjoy time with family and friends… Time to indulge in too many treats… Time for hats, mittens and frosty noses… Time for our to-do lists to grow exponentially with an ever-looming deadline… Time for exhaustion and perhaps a bit of panic—just me?
Most importantly it’s time to reflect back on the year we had and celebrate the good things life brought us.
Our family has survived another year of pandemic just like everyone else it seems… Sure, it’s changed the way our year looked when compared to other years, but sometimes that change is inevitable whether there’s a pandemic or not.
One of the more noticeable changes for us was probably our lack of road trips. The truth of the matter is that we’re out of practice being in public places. Combine that with the fact that Nolan wants to be more independent than is always practical (or safe), and we sometimes get the crankies while we’re in public. I’m sure that the fact that Nolan doesn’t seem to be as comfortable in the backseat of my small car (just the other day I noted that he was having a hard time getting his giant feet out after we bought shoes in the next size up) isn’t helping. Sure, we managed to visit a handful of flea markets, but in general we just didn’t explore as much this year.
Most of the year was good, though. Parts of it were even great!
Nolan finished his freshman year of high school, and it was clear that this new-to-us school is the perfect fit for him. His teachers and paraprofessionals all understand his needs in ways we haven’t been lucky enough to have always had. When Nolan communicates they listen—even if he isn’t using words. While that may seem like an obvious response, you might be surprised at just how rare a gift that actually is.
This year, as a sophomore, Nolan has some new faces in his classroom. While we’re never sure what to expect when there’s turnover with staff at school, we again find ourselves filled with gratitude for the people who work with him on a daily basis. He’s even started a job at school where his primary duties include folding towels in the lunch room and watering outdoor plants (when the weather is nicer than this December yuck that’s descended upon us now…) He’s earned a few small paychecks which I am confident he is eager to spend on Mountain Dew (he is 16 after all…) and balloons.
Nolan started with his school’s Adaptive Sports League team. After an abbreviated non-competitive soccer season early in the year, he played a full season of Wiffle Ball. He came back this fall for the full soccer season. He even earned an athletic letter as a freshman—a feat neither of his parents managed at any point in their high school years.
But probably the most exciting thing Nolan is doing now is music… He does music therapy once a week where he and his music therapist work on things like taking turns and following directions. It’s amazing to see how well he does—both with the music and the social interaction during the sessions—with his therapist. Honestly, she’s as much a rock star as Nolan (and we all know Nolan is a rock star). We also added a drum set to Nolan’s arsenal of instruments this year, and we hope that as he explores and learns to use the drums he also learns not to use them at 3 a.m. (so far so good!)
Thank you all for being a part of our 2021, and we wish you all the best in 2022!
The Beys (Kirk, Cindy, Nolan, Walter, & Donny)