purple graduation gownThis coming school year is a huge one for our family, and while I’m taking the time this month to refocus on my personal mission statement of Faith, Family, and Fiction, I’m also planning ahead for an emotional year of transitions.

First up, this is the last year I’ll have a child in Elementary School. The last year for class parties and field trips and Valentine’s exchanges. The last year with a home room teacher instead of switching rooms for every subject. While I know my little guy is growing up, I’m vowing to make the most of every moment and memory.

Next, this is the first year that I have a child driving himself (and his younger brother) to school. And with that growing independence come a bunch of other lessons in financial matters like bank accounts and “emergency” credit cards as well as responsibilities like checking oil and radiator fluid levels in his vehicle. So, in addition to walking beside and teaching him these practical parts of growing up, I’m also adjusting to the fact he has just two more years at home before heading off to college somewhere. More open lines of communication and making memories … while competing with the attraction/distraction of a girlfriend and a more active social life now that he has wheels.

Finally–and this is the most emotional piece of the family puzzle–my special needs daughter is a senior in high school this year. Senior pictures. Graduation cap and gown, announcements and party. After she graduates next May, we transition to other programs and have to develop new routines after 12 years of little buses and school and teachers and lunch and PE. She thrives on routine and, with her autistic-characteristics, this transition will be very hard on all of us.

In addition to school transitions, once she turns 18, we must navigate the legal waters of guardianship and government disability benefits and banking on her behalf and finding new doctors that don’t deal in pediatric medicine. I’m learning a lot about all the required forms and process, but I’ve also been warned about the emotional blow as we “prove” the level of her disability … and come face to face again with her diminished abilities in black and white on government documents.

As a Mom, I can do this. Because I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. And when we come out the other side of these transitions, I will have more wisdom to share with the special-needs parents who come behind us on the journey.

What about you? Are you facing any transitions in your life? How do you handle them? Is it better to know change is coming or to survive the unexpected in the moment?

Refocusing on Family
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