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Piece by Piece: Bring on the New Year

The New Year always brings a chance to look back and forward. As 2011 passes, I find myself looking ahead a great deal. At the end of this school year my children will all make changes. Charlotte will head to high school; Peter will go to middle school and Kit will go to the second floor as a fourth grader.

There are so many transitions. All parents look at the future and wonder. But parents of children with special needs look at the future and often do not know what they are hoping to see. If you had told me when Peter was a toddler that he would ski last year I would have never believed you. Yet after one time down the mountain he declared that he was ready to go solo.

Peter was still talking in phrases at age 4. I would have been skeptical that he would actually be able to answer questions, no less ask them regularly. Conversation when he was young was practically scripted. In fact, at times, Peter would say, “No Mommy, you say, ‘Hi handsome’” as he walked into a room. I guess I said that to him quite often and then he expected it.

This year I look at middle school looming and I can’t imagine it. Peter has been in a small class and mainstreamed for specials such as art, music and gym. How will he deal with such a big building with so many more students, without the security of his elementary school where everyone knows him?

When I find myself looking into that unknown I look back and remind myself of the many things I never could have imagined. It reminds me that piece by piece Peter is growing up. He will find a way to take on the new challenges and help me see how bright the future can be.

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