Reflecting on 25 Years: Celebrating Elizabeth’s Growth and Accomplishments

25 years in!

Soon Elizabeth will be looking at her next birthday and every year it sets me thinking.

I know her birthday is a few months off but as I have been organizing some things for a vacation, thinking about some tests Michael is taking in May, I couldn’t help but raise my eyes to the month of June.

And that leads me to thinking about her birthday.

And THAT leads me to thinking about her year and how her world has changed as well as how she has grown.

And that is the thing…

The question of how she has grown. I have been doing that same line of thinking for FOREVER! From the time she said a word, to the first whole sentence, to her trying to swim, to her swimming. And on and on.

It is the marker of time passing that sets off this “year in review” for me. I don’t think about doing it, it just happens, and I believe that is the result of both how God made me and the IEP process that takes place in the spring of each year she was in school.

The IEP process required me to literally look at the goals set in the previous fall and see just what was accomplished in the following Spring. As my eyes would go from goal to goal, I would be forced to see if the year was a success, in terms of goals, or not. This “side by side” thinking would then spill over to all parts of Elizabeth’s life as I mentally looked at her language at home, life skills she was learning at home, how she handled tough situations and on and on.

And now, after all the school year IEP processes are not part of our life, I am still conditioned to see and smell the beauty of spring and then do the “year in review”

I know at 25 and soon to be 26 that her life has taken on the rhythm of, well, just life! Working and friends and cooking and….life But there is always and will always be a part of me that knows she is continuing to grow.

Both as an adult and as a worker.

There are things she continues to learn about life, work, bills etc. and there are skills she grows to make her more employable.

I also think that when you have a child with special needs, the journey to adulthood is 100% unique to you and your child. What I see other young adults doing may or may not yet be what Elizabeth can do or ever will do or really ever will WANT to do.

I think it is so important to see, in all of this, what your child truly likes and wants to do and who they are. Just because someone else is interested in gymnastics or a musical instruments and they are succeeding doesn’t mean that is the fit for your child. And this is where knowing who your child is is SO important.

So with all this said, The review will begin.

I am proud of all she has done, learned and accomplished and the journey continues.

I wish everyone a good month,

Michele Gianetti

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