Ahh.. the inevitable time of year where our thoughts are driven to the things that we are most thankful for. I wish I could say that I consciously practice gratitude throughout the year but in the rush of daily life it doesn’t even make top 10 on the priorities list. However, in preparing for this blog post, I realized that I generally approach my job and my family with more appreciation than I am often aware.
I think I’ve noticed it the most this year in my own personal life. Likely, readers are familiar with my son, Lucas, who also receives speech and language therapy and special education services both in and out of school. I am not shy about sharing Lucas’s story as I believe it helps normalize getting help when there is a need. What I have been incredibly thankful for this year is the public school 3-K that Lucas is participating in this year. My husband and I have a conversation weekly about how lucky we are that he was awarded a seat and for the excellent services he is getting. Especially in a large city system where supports are not always provided equitably. We have seen huge improvements in Lucas’s language and his curiosity about the world. While I don’t share my gratitude in the form of say writing in a gratitude journal designed by an amazingly talented person on Pinterest, I realized it shows up in other ways; donating resources to the school, offering to give a parent perspective to other parents who are starting the process of getting special education supports, making sure to thank his teachers and support staff whenever I see them, and being an active/passive partner with the experts who are making my son’s experience a positive one. This means taking a backseat and letting his teachers and therapists guide his learning and guide us in implementing strategies at home. These experts allow me to be Lucas’s mom and not also this therapist (which by the way…never ever works). That is an amazing gift.
Through Lucas I also have an appreciation of what it means to be a parent whose child needs speech and language therapy. While I already had knowledge about language development, many of the parents who call are only learning about speech and language for the first time. Having gone through the process myself has allowed me to approach new families with more empathy. While it’s not a necessity to have a child with delays to be sensitive to this, I think there is something to be said about a shared experience. I’m grateful that I can offer this perspective to families as well. It’s been quite the learning experience having my professional and family worlds collide but with the guidance of a very patient and experienced Pre-K teacher (yes, there was a moment in the beginning of the school year, where I was THAT parent who was emailing the teacher A LOT) I’ve graciously learned how to step back and be thankful for where we are.
Wishing you and your family a healthy and happy holiday season.