So where are we now?

It's funny how at this time of the year you start to reflect on the year the was. I start to think about my goals for next year (in all facets of my life) and consider if I have reached any of the things I had hoped to achieve.

After re-reading my 'Hello Little Man' piece, I think back to how long ago I wrote that. Over 5 years ago! So much has happened since then, yet I feel like I could have written that yesterday and it would have still rung true for me.
Are the issues I face still the same? Yes. Pretty much. But there are many many new issues as well. For example, I still get frustrated that people think using the word 'retard' is ok. It is not. End of story. It is hurtful. I know most people in this world don't get that it is hurtful and come up with all sort's of excuses as to why it is ok for them to use. At the end of the day, it is hurtful still. I don't want people in my life that think it is ok to use that word. I figure if people can't understand why that word bothers me so much, then they are not worth me wasting time explaining it. I shouldn't have to justify it.

Another issue we face is the ongoing management of Ryley's complex medical issues. Who understands that? No one, apart from those who are facing similar issues. Yet still, people think they can give me advice and tell me what I should do. Hmmmm. Let me think about that. Um...[insert many swear words].

Ryley's behaviour is increasingly getting difficult to manage. By that, I mean, he has added a "whingeing" tool to his small, but growing reportoire of naughty behaviours. In some ways, I am proud of his ability to recognise that by whingeing in this particular way, he is almost certain to annoy his mother, while probably getting what he wants (if she is smart enough to work it out). Hopefully it is just a phase and he finds another way soon, but boy is it stressful. Having to keep him occupied every single minute of the day is exhausting. But most people don't get that.

So many people judge me on how I am choosing to raise Braeden. I get comments all the time that I should be weaning him. That his sleep problems are my fault because I am still BFing him and I should just let him cry himself to sleep every night. Yeah. I wonder if they stop and think that perhaps I am simply choosing my son first. In such a small snapshot of his life, I am choosing to meet his needs (emotionally and nutritionally) by BFing him on demand. That is my choice. It is right for ME. But it doesn't mean it isn't draining and exhausting for me.
I also have people analyse Braeden constantly and compare him and check that he is 'normal'. After all, once you have one disabled child, it is assumed that it must have been your parenting.

So many issues.

But, you know what. I still wouldn't swap Ryley for anything. I still try and make every day count. I hope and pray that he stays with us here on earth for many years to come, and I hope he stays healthy. I am so grateful that Braeden chose us and that we have him in our lives. With him, he brought a happiness and a light that we never knew existed.

So what will 2010 hold for us? Lot's of fun times hopefully. Plenty of challenges no doubt. But with the love of our friends and each other, no dream is beyond reach.
And trust me, we DREAM BIG!!

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