NYE is normally a time of reflection...on what has been and hopes for the future year. This last year has been like most years for us - a busy one.
The most significant events from 2012 for the Woolsey family were:
* In January Jessica started school. As I have written about in previous blogs, she has Down syndrome and although she is high functioning, going to school caused us many nights of restless sleep. By her choice, by the end of week 2, she was in mainstream full time. It hasn't been an entirely easy year for her or for her teacher, but she has done well overall. The main benefits of mainstream for Jess have been her speech and social development. Academically she is low but she was not the only child in her class with learning difficulties.
In 2012 Melissa went into Year 6 and Nick into Year 3. They both have also had a good year. Melissa in particular has blossomed into a self-confident young lady who loves being on stage.
* In March Joe turned the big 5 0 and we had a celebration bbq lunch at the park where we got married, with Mum and our friends. It was a nice celebration.
* In September we went to Bribie Island for our annual family holiday. Jess spent hours at the playground and Melissa and Nick loved the beach.
* A week after the holiday Nick had his big facial operation (Lefort III advancement via the RED). The movement of his facial bones took 1 month and then the frame stayed on for 3 months. (the halo frame is on until the end of January). More on this further down.
* In November we were blessed with a new kitchen and appliances to replace our 30 year old kitchen where the oven and 2 of the stove burners did not work anymore. We love it!
Mixed in with these major events were weekly speech and occupational therapy sessions for Jessica; dance and swimming lessons for Jessica, Melissa and Nick; and Girls and Boys Brigade for Melissa and Nick. There were the usual school activities and Melissa went on school camp which she loved. Nick also went on Boys Brigade camp. It was the first time he had been away from home by himself. He also had a good time while I was at home worrying about him.
And I taught part-time with Joe being the carer doing the therapy sessions and frequent hospital appointments.
Managing Daily Life
We continued to manage Nick's Coeliac Disease and tried to broaden his food choices.
We also had to manage Jessica's behaviour and her lack of understanding due to her intellectual impairment. She has been very strong-willed and stubborn. She would dig her heels in and refuse to do what she was told. Rules, routines, consequences and rewards had to be regimentally implemented. Because of this behaviour and her love of silently running off there were many things we would have loved to have done but couldn't. No camping anymore - we got a unit at the beach for our holiday where the door was always locked...in the shops she was constrained to the shopping trolley as much as possible...when out as a family it was everyone's job to keep an eye on her...but even so she did manage to run off on us all and cause some anxious moments until we found her. On numerous occasions she also ran off at school, thankfully not out of the school grounds. God kept her safe.
Nick's facial op of course was the other majot event for the year and needed a lot of management. What we have gone through is documented in previous blogs. The first month was incredibly hard, watching Nick dealing with the pain of having the bones in his mid-face region moved forward about 2 cm. Providing him with food he could eat posed a challenge and keepiong weight on his small frame posed another challenge. And also our family activities have been curbed massively. These 6 weeks of Christmas holidays are not the normal ones. No swimming, no playcentres, no playgrounds, no bikes, rollerblading etc etc...we are at home, with the children playing on their electronic devices and playing with their toys. That's it. It is hard to read about all the fabulous things people are doing on Facebook, when we are doing very little.
The main life lesson for me this year has been ACCEPTANCE.
* Acceptance particularly of my circumstances.
* Acceptance that my family's daily activities are dictated by the disabilities that the 5 of us have.
* Acceptance that financially we are coping but it is hard. There is no money for luxuries.
* Acceptance that we can be happy and content when we dig into our faith daily and trust that God has everything under control. We can only see a moment in time whereas God can see the whole picture.
* I have also accepted that I must not work for material possessions but for God and God will bless me for my committment to that. I must be Jesus's hands and feet on this earth. This year I have had a very difficult group of youngsters with many behavioural, social and emotional issues. Knowing I was being Jesus's helper enabled me to have patience and to care for them as well as teach them. Each person is loved equally by God.