It’s hard to believe that 2021 begins exactly one month from today, and for most of us, not a moment too soon! I, too, can’t wait to kick 2020 to the curb and slam the door on a year that has been so eventful and frustrating. While there have also been extraordinary moments of bravery and hope in between the sorrowful ones, I think it is safe to say that everyone is looking forward to the New Year. January 1st represents a fresh new beginning, a clean slate, to write our resolutions on, and hopefully the discipline to actually carry them out. I usually break mine within a few weeks, but perhaps 2021 will be different in terms of what we are determined to change for the better. This year has certainly taught us what we can’t control, how to make the best of extraordinary circumstances in order to cope, and how difficult these things can be. Our priorities and values changed ( who knew toilet paper and paper towel purchases would be an actual shopping goal?!) and our time with family was the most we ever had in years. I have spent more time with my husband this year than in the past 18 years due to his long work hours. Most of the time, this was a good thing, and we often say that this is one of the silver linings of the pandemic. Conversely, the opposite has also been true and we can certainly get on each other’s nerves from being at home together for so long. Thank goodness we have enough room to spread out! Yet, it is truly a blessing that Jim can work from home, but still, like you, we long for our normal routines to return.
Besides those directly effected by Covid 19, another major change and challenge this year of course has been remote learning, an absolute struggle for so many kids, and a year of education that they will never get back. Brian is very fortunate to have school support at home and he definitely needs it! Left to our own devices, remote instruction this Spring for Brian and I was a complete disaster and resulted in huge frustration. We were certainly not alone, in fact, millions of other students, both special needs and typical, were and are still going through the exact same experiences. Online learning has its limitations and there is no substitute for in-person socialization, especially for kids. I can’t imagine how young people must feel being isolated from their peers and sharing experiences that are as important as the academic lessons taught in the classrooms. It’s a travesty and will hopefully become a situation of the past in 2021, especially with vaccines coming soon. In the meantime, we try to look for the good and take each moment as it comes, for what other choice do we really have?
My resolutions for 2021 will be flexible and more realistic than in previous years. The events of 2020 have been a good teacher, reminding me of what really matters and what doesn’t. I suppose getting older has something to do with it too; one becomes more practical and reflective of life at a certain age. My priorities have certainly changed over a lifetime, all by choice, and most of them for the good. The bad choices have been discarded and I try again, another life lesson that was learned. Wisdom with age has been an extraordinary gift that I now embrace instead of resisting, which I did for a very long time. Brian certainly continues to teach me extraordinary things about life’s priorities as well, profound truths that result in true peace and joy.
Here is Brian’s formula for a good life that will continue in 2021: love with your whole heart, no matter what! An unsolicited bear hug is one of the best gifts that you can offer a troubled soul. Greeting and sharing a genuine smile with others may be the only good thing that a person experiences in a day. Don’t give up- keep trying, despite your developmental disabilities, your fatigue, and frustration. Laugh loud and often! Watch lots of Disney movies. Hold hands and say prayers of gratitude and thanksgiving. Be patient and kind, especially when it’s hard. Remain steadfast and hopeful in all that is good and worthwhile. Remember, this is a marathon that we run, not a race. Be open to new adventures and lessons, no matter where life takes you, especially to places you would prefer to avoid. Live like today is your last. When all else fails, go swimming, then get in a hot tub! Sounds like the perfect resolutions to live by! My beautiful boy is truly one of the wisest people I have ever known..❤️❤️❤️
I’m using Brian’s list as a template for my own Top 12 Resolutions in 2021 and beyond. Of course there will be more, but here are some very important ones I’ve come up with: (please note I will never resolve to exclude chocolate or wine from my diet ever again, or exercise 7 days a week- how crazy, it was never going to happen anyway!)
The 2021 Resolution List
1. I will take breaks without guilt
2. I will laugh and cry freely
3. I will take naps and do absolutely nothing when possible
4. I will say no more often
5. I will look for opportunities to be helpful, to care, and to share with others
6. I will choose to look for the good in bad situations and learn from them
7. I will be open to new opportunities, adventures, and possibilities in life
8. I will get more sleep
9. I will make sure to physically move every day for my mental health
10. I will make plans to look forward to
11. I will eat chocolate and drink wine
12. I will trust God in all areas of my life, every day, and leave the details to Him, no matter what.
This concludes my final blog for 2020. Thank you for following along! It has been a blessing to share this special needs journey with you thus far; I anticipate there is much more to come in 2021 for all of us! In the meantime, may the joy and peace of this holiday season touch your heart and propel you forward into the New Year with great expectation and hope! It has been a difficult year for sure, but the best is yet to come! From Chez McDonnell, we wish you and your family abundant blessings both big and small in 2021. God Bless us, Everyone!! 🎄🎄❤️❤️🎉🎉