At Messy Church on Sunday the theme was light and reflection, as we enter the four weeks of Advent and the customary period of prayer and reflection in preparation for Christmas. Using this period as a time to reflect on the year passed is a pleasing counterpoint to the frenzy of events, gifts and shopping that December can so often become. And I find it much easier to look back now than at New Year, when the emphasis is on looking forward. So what of the year just gone?
Well, in the voice of Alan Carr I say, what a year it's been! Just over a year ago we realised that things were different with Lara and that there was something else going on, which led to diagnosis and the beginning of our journey into her particular needs. To be honest, we are still coming to terms with having a child with special needs, and it is hard. The unpredictability of Lara's SPD often makes life difficult, and a lot of things have been affected by it. We have to cancel events and meetings, we have to find ways to manage situations, and most times we go out we face open mocking and ridicule from people who don't know about this invisible disability and see 'naughty' not 'autie'. It's hard.
But, and it's a big but, despite the tough bits, our family has had a lovely year. We're together most of the time, we pretty much do what we want to do whenever we want to do it, and we have a great time together. Holidays, days out, adventures, and just simple daily walks and visits to the beach, create memories and laughter. The girls play together all day, mostly happily (!), and create elaborate stories and adventures together with dollies or LEGO or Playmobil or Sylvanian Families. They're learning every day and full of questions and wonder about the world. Happiest on holiday, their biggest ambition for next year is a first foreign holiday as they are so enthralled by the idea of other languages and cultures. I'm currently saving up and keeping my eye on the last minute holiday offers...
They are looking forward to the next few weeks of events and fun, culminating in the visit of one of their very favourite people, and then Christmas itself. We have festive fun at Butlins and Peppa Pig World to look forward to; panto and theatre visits; parties and Tatiana's second birthday; hotel and London trips; and much more. Apart from their much-wanted holiday, the girls' ambitions for next year are pretty much more of the same. Learning, playing, going out, having fun, and enjoying their freedom. Not a bad life, is it?
As for me, Attachment Mummy has gone from strength to strength, not without a lot of hard work and some very late nights (3am is not unusual), but it's been worth it. Accolades include being the most influential parenting and lifestyle blog in the UK, most influential social media influencer in the UK mum community, and more. Let's hope we go from strength to strength in 2016!