January 1, 2016

Episode MMXVI: A New Hope

There's a Ben Folds song I've written about before called "Picture Window." It tells the story of a mom who "checked into the hospital new year's eve. Nothing to be done about that." The day doesn't matter. A new year won't change anything. Much like the rainbows and daffodils painted on the hospital walls, the symbolism of a new year is meaningless. Even as another mom hands her a glass of champagne, she knows her son will still be sick next year.

She catches a glimpse of the fireworks through the big picture window. And despite everything, feels her spirits rise. She can't help it.

2015 was a rough year here. And despite the fact that January 1 is just another day, it does feel like a new beginning. The symbolism can be tough. We set expectations that things are going to be different just because the page on the calendar turned. And when things aren't different, when you don't suddenly become more motivated, thinner, healthier, richer or generally happier, we set ourselves up for disappointment. Again.

But the idea of a clean slate is also liberating. We give ourselves permission to start something. To try to improve. To pretend even for a few days that things are going to be better. And sometimes - lots of times - they do. So we toast a new year and to all the possibilities it brings.

I know this year is going to be hard. The challenges of living with severe autism are not going away. But for now I'm going to let a glow of a fun night with friends linger, place a little hope that Moe's return to school will bring positive changes for him and us, and remind myself of the good things in my life. There are many.

I'm going to allow my spirits to rise.


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