Category: giving, gratitude

How Gratitude Opens You Up As An Exceptional Parent

Parenting Michael has been nothing but not interesting. We have had many ups and downs on the road of exceptional family life as I’ve shared in this blog, but one thing that has truly struck me as extraordinary has been how practicing gratitude in the rest of my life by meditating on my blessings, has helped me see all sides of Michael’s character (as well as my own) in a whole new way. It is so tempting when things are stressful or going wrong with you or your child to think all of life is doomed or that things will never be calm and happy again. This is so not true. Life, like our kids, always has its ups and downs. By practicing being grateful for the small and big things in our lives as human beings, all our lives, as individuals, parents, partners, friends etc., we are opening ourselves up to seeing everything in a more positive frame or in a growth framework.

Michael has made MASSIVE improvements in how he has been learning to self-regulate. He has grown up a lot too and shows greater maturity in how he is handling everything in his life these days. But what has helped me see all of this has been my own massive growth as an individual. Through meditating, nature walks, writing, going regularly to a spa or soaking in a bath to connecting with like minded women friends, I have been finding my center. I have been rediscovering who I am deep inside and the blessings I want to remember each day and share with the world. I know that the way I am living my life is reflecting this as I have received a lot of, “you radiate a positive energy” “you are always happy and calm.” I also think that Michael senses this ease in my mind and attitude. It has helped our relationship a lot too as it takes another turn where Michael moves away from being dependent on me for everything and moving towards relying on himself to make decisions. Yet, he still knows I am there to bounce ideas off of. I think he senses I am calmer to do this with. I do my best to reiterate this calm attitude to him by talking about my personal self-care strategies that help me be strong. Michael knows I start the day with meditation and usually yoga stretches, and that meeting my writer and Mom friends are at the top of my list of priorities for self-care. They all make up my list of things to be grateful for. Family is also on that list, and I make sure to stay in touch as much as I can with family so that Michael knows he has a center and a lot to be grateful for.

Exceptional Parents, how has gratitude or showing gratitude changed you as a parent? Do you parent better when you count your blessings? Of course you do! Don’t ever be afraid, especially in the more difficult times of parenting your child, to look at the silver lining. This does not make you unrealistic about your life or your child’s. It reminds you that though there are hardships in your child’s life and yours, you also have many beautiful happy moments in your life that complete your journey as a human being. You can share this gratitude with your child and then they will learn about balancing all emotions in life. Until next time.

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How Exceptional Parents Can Press The Reset Button On Manifesting Abundance In Their Exceptional Family

Times are tough. Summers are even tougher. At least they are in most exceptional families. Ours is no exception, but with many wonderful angels in my life that God and the Universe keep putting in my path, I am hearing t the same refrain: You need to bring hope and the abundance mindset back. Now, by abundance mindset, it does not necessarily mean  financial though it could be. Abundance also includes emotional, physical and spiritual balance. It is about clearing out the clutter in our minds, hearts and lives. It is about not letting pain and worry about our children, ourselves and loved ones define our whole experience. Though I know this and help other Moms and people move out of this mindset, I have noticed in the last month that I have been stuck in a negative mindset where my hope has been shaky. I have been letting pain and fear rule, never a good idea. Well, I decided last weekend no more. I am on a journey back to rediscovering hope, love, community and seeing the beauty in even the most painful situation.

It starts with seeing the beauty in yourself, in all your moods. Next, look with love on your child and other family members. Michael has been giving me reasons to smile even in the midst of his fear and personal struggles lately. He has even made me chuckle once or twice. I know laughter is coming back soon again in our family. Why? Because we are slowly opening up to the reality that life is a mix of beauty, darkness, and everything in between.

Looking at Michael swimming last night at one or our community pools, I saw him having fun, relaxed and smiling while fooling around in the water. He was flipping underwater and then swimming. He kept looking at me sitting on deck with a puzzled look and then asked,

“Mommy, why aren’t you coming in to swim?”

“You know what Michael. I’m tired today. I’m going to watch instead.”
He was disappointed and tried several more times. I usually enjoyed swimming with Michael and in general, but last night was so tired and stressed. I took a Mommy respite on shore while he entertained himself. I was also afraid of silly inaproppriate behaviors starting as lately they had when I was in the water with him. Alone, he did great. As I looked at him, I thought how cute and sweet he is from this distance when I’m not putting out behavior or attitude fires. I realized that I had to start rebuilding my patience level with me before I could be patient with him. Today I went for a massage and did a long meditation and yoga workout. Those are part of my resets to rebuilding my abundance mindset. Every woman must frind her own.

Exceptional Parents, are you stuck in a negative mindset? If so, don’t worry. Start with baby steps in calming down your stress level first. A calm relaxed person can see difficulties more clearly. Go easy on yourself. Do things that make you happy. Your child will pick up on that playful vibe. That will help them as well handle their fear more easily. Together, you can both channel a more positive mindset in your lives. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com

Exceptional Mom Friends-Lifeline In Times of Stress

I am a lucky woman. There. I’ve said it. I know I am blessed beyond reason. I not only have a great family, but amazing Mom friends just like me who “get it,” in other words, who get what I am going through. I don’t get a chance to see them in person as much as I like (or they like too). We are all busy with our families, even when things are going well. And when they are not going well, it’s even crazier.  We try to get out for Mommy dinners with wine, but it doesn’t always work out.  Still, I know I can have the world’s worst Mom day, feel like a total failure and email, text or call them, and be told, “You’re amazing.” Just knowing they are  out there brings tears to my eyes. I am not alone, I think! The other day at camp pick up I saw one of these Mom friends. She spontaneously gave me a hug. It meant the world to me on a week where things have been less than perfect at home with Michael. And of course, like every Mom, I am blaming myself. I know as a professional that things are not all my fault. But as a Mom, naturally it is your fault. You are the glue that holds the family together. And when that glue dries up, good night Charlie.

As a parent coach who works with families, I am professional, calm, centered and trust my instincts. As a Mom I am usually that. On my best days. On the other days when my kid throws me new curve balls like he did this week,  I am tired and scared. I sometimes question myself. Am I doing this motherhood thing right? Do I really know my kid? Am I missing something major? The answer is usually, No, you are fine by my inner voice, but when that voice is tired, scared and fearful  I hear the voice of  God and that of my Mom friends. God  speaks through them, giving me strength and hope, as well as reminding me I love my child and am doing everything I can to teach him how to handle the new obstacles life has thrown at him. He is a great kid who will get through this challenges as is his Mom.

I think back to all the Mom friends I have met over the years. I have met them at Michael’s schools, support groups, volunteering at his school, and at other online support groups .They make me laugh. They make me remember the joys of being a mother to a specific kind of child with challenges, because no matter what, they all have children with challenges and different brains too. We can commiserate and laugh about the same things. Cry over the struggles. And then celebrate the victories. There are so many more victories than challenges. Another friend talks about our “little village” of Moms who support each other. Just knowing they are there makes all the difference.

It is so important for all exceptional parents to find their village-online, in person, or both. Talk with these parents. Meet with them regularly or as often as you can. You are not alone. You are a woman carrying what so many women carry- love, strength, fear, anger, hope, despair and resilience in the end to see things through for your child to the best of your ability. No matter what, Moms don’t give up, and if you ever feel yourself about to lose it, reach out and connect to another Mom. You will be rewarded with a kind ear, laughter, and understanding. I would not be where I am today (nor would Michael), without the help of my Mom friends who listened to me, gave me the names of therapists, schools, play centers, you name it, to make life less crazy and more manageable and fun.  Now, I occasionally find myself returning the favor when a Mom comes to me. I feel privileged to be able to help any Mom by providing information, a kind ear, or a hug (virtual or in person), that she is an incredible Mom and human being. As women, we are too hard on ourselves and we need to stop doing that. We need to let ourselves be loved and know that like our child is enough for us we are enough for ourselves and those around us. At least the ones who matter.

Exceptional Parents, how many of you reach out to your Mom or parent friends when you are down or scared? Remember, your journey is unique, but all Moms have shared your pain of fear for their child and struggle to make things better for them now and in the future. Support each other through the rough times and celebrate the victories together. You will never feel alone again. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com

Patience, Patience and More Patience- 5 Ways Our Exceptional Kids Can Learn This Lesson and Teach It To Us Too

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Today for the millionth time in the day I thought to myself how many times Michael teaches me patience and how to hold on to the better part of myself. He does this by, you got it folks, testing me left, right and center. It’s the same with all children, and some adults for that matter. Most people have their issues to work through, and some when they see they can get a rise out of you, well, they do their best to get that rise. Kids who are exceptional are not only capable of this, but often seek it out due to low thresholds of tolerance for stress, sensory issues or just not really understanding the social cues of the neuro typical world. I often remind myself, and have been lucky to have been reminded of this with the professionals who have worked and work with our family, that Michael and kids like him are wired differently from birth. The way they view our world, is through their lens, similarly to how we from the neuro typical world view their world from the inside out. “Do you see me? Do you really see me?” becomes the mantra for how both of us perceive each other. However, with respect, true respect for our differences, strengths and weaknesses, we can help one another so much.

Every day, even on the days I have felt like a failure as a Mom, Michael has shown me how courageous I am and how courageous he is. Michael has pushed us both out to sea and found an island for us to live on. On this island, the sky is the limit as I know it will be for Michael. . The two of us are adventurers in this sea of life, as I think all parents of all children are. However, what is important to hold on to is how our kids will help us build patience when we feel we can’t go on. In what ways will they do this? Here are some of those ways:

1) They will make us face our fears: Exceptional kids have to face their fears and in doing so, they push us exceptional parents to face our fears too. Over and over I have had to face what has been uncomfortable for me to face and you know what, it has helped me grow and become stronger. The same will happen for you!

2) You will learn to see EVERY child as an individual: Every parent of every child knows their child is an individual before anything else. But sometimes all of this gets lost when we are busy fighting with them to finish their homework, be polite like so and so, listen like so and so. Of course, it is important that all our children follow rules and learn to get along in the world, but if we don’t hone who they are as individuals and patiently wait to see what they will make of that, we are not doing them or ourselves any favors.

3) They will help you learn what your triggers are: Oh yeah on that. Little kids know what set us off, and if we can figure out what kind of people push our buttons, we are truly ahead of the game as parents and human beings. Michael has shown me how to go to find my happy place, go to it, and how to help him find his way to his, or at least give him the map to do so.

4) You will have oodles of energy to handle other people’s issues in your life thanks to your child: I cannot say enough how overall Michael has helped me learn to help and commiserate with many other adults and children around me and have patience for them. I always say, like Michael, like me, these people struggle to find patience. Let me be someone who helps them along the way.

5) If you let them, your child will let you learn to laugh at the craziness of life: This was a hard one for me several times in my life, but as I become more experienced as a Mom and Michael grows up, I feel that life with an Exceptional Child, can be an adventure where there are lots of laughs and craziness in a good way, if we let those feelings in. It is not always easy or possible, but Michael is showing me more that I need to learn to laugh at the craziness of life in order to be able to move forward.

 

Exceptional Parents, how has your Exceptional Child taught you patience? Remember, one day at a time will help you focus on all your child is and all you are in order to be your best and strongest. You are both in this adventure for a reason. Until next time.

 

 

 

 

Gratitude In The Face Of Struggle-More Teachings From My Exceptional Child

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Michael and I have had our our hard times an our easy times. We have laughed and cried together. And boy, have we grown. I have seen how much Michael has grown up in the last year, and me too. Well actually, I am still growing, learning about how to be a better more patient Mom, love myself more as an individual and let things go. Letting things go has always been hard for me. It is still challenging as I can be a little on the obsessive side, but Michael has shown me over the years that sometimes you have to ride things out. Worrying does you no good. Letting go means letting go of the control we think we have over every part of our life. We don’t have that. We can control many times in ourselves. But we can’t control other people. We can control how we react to what other people say or do and realize that life tests us in many ways to help us become stronger.

Our family has had its first gastro virus in about five years. We have been fortunate to avoid it for a long time, and this year, Michael’s first year with diabetes, is the year it came into the house. Dad and I were scared as we were warned that it could become dangerous, but thanks to our terrific team at our local Children’s Hospital, Michael is slowly recovering. When it hit, we were so scared, but I decided to put into practice gratitude. What? How can a person be grateful for sickness. Well, you can look at the fact that Michael had his parents here to take care of him, a good team of doctors, and though we all had it, it was milder than some of the other times this family went through this particular virus. I was also grateful for a Snow Day today, which meant Michael will not be missing as much school as he normally would, and I am grateful that I too was home today from work and able to heal.

Keeping a gratitude journal is showing me again to be happy and grateful for the little things. They are what matter in the end. We can always learn from something and become stronger for it. The conflicts I’ve had with Michael lately as well as helping him handle sickness, have taught me as much about patience and growth as they have Michael. He is a very calm and patient little sick person, but there were times today when he was panicky and scared. It’s only normal. From the patience I’ve learned as a Mom and towards myself, I was able to talk and reassure him that all would be well soon. It’s not always easy to be grateful when things take a downturn, but life is all about getting back up on your feet and trying again. Michael’s positive attitude today, even while sick, reminded me of how blessings can be viewed in a bigger way.

Exceptional Parents, what struggles with your child are you grateful for? Remember, these struggles are what make them and you stronger human beings and grow in your relationships, all of them. So next time you have a bad or rough day with your child, remember to ask yourself what can you learn from this and take away as a lesson? Be gentle with yourself and them. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

The Importance Of Being Present For Your Exceptional Child

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So today was one of those days that Michael really needed me to listen, to drop everything and just listen. It was a pleasure as he was calm and affectionate. Inquisitive and thoughtful. Scared and profound. There are other days when he is confrontational and negative. Those are the harder days to stay present for him in the moment. I still do it, but it is challenging unless I have been practicing really good self-care and am really rested. Balance for our kids is so important as well as routine. Since diabetes has joined autism we really see the need for balance and staying present now more than ever. I always tell people that I truly believe and try to learn from what life is teaching me and members of my family in each and every moment. Even in negative moments when we make mistakes, we could look back and see that we are being shown how to learn patience, forgiveness, our own strength or how to become stronger. Everything happens for a reason.

Michael is dealing with a lot at the moment and is doing an amazing job handling it all. Still, he has his moments. His anxiety, his need to control things and learn to let go, are challenges. We hope that now with medication added to his strategy this, this will help him be more at ease in his mind and body. Dad and I are ready to move forward with whatever is most helpful for Michael as always. He continues to impress me with his questions, his actions, his thoughts on his life now and the changes that have come on. I learn about these feelings during our talks together. This is an important time when we could bond, open up, and learn about give and take, share love, and slow time down. This is something so important. It sends the message to our children that “they” not their diagnoses matter first above everything else.

Exceptional Parents, are you making time to be present for your Exceptional Child? It’s not easy at all to do this, but it is an art. Find pockets of time-snack time, dinner time, right before bed to talk, exchange information, share a laugh. This will go farther in bringing you and your child closer than anything else. It will also show your child how much they matter to you for being them, special through and through. When they feel this way, they will begin to do even more amazing things. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with Autism and Type 1 Diabetes has shown me a whole new way to see the world and embrace the joy of  living in the moment! I believe in empowering parents to trust their own instincts when it comes to their children, and in helping them parent with love, respect and confidence on their own exceptional parenting journey.

For more information on my coaching services,  for a FREE 30 min consultation, and to receive a  copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY,” see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. 

Those Moments Your Exceptional Child Amazes You-That Is Their Potential

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The other night after a fight with Michael when he wasn’t listening and losing control of himself, we sent him to his “cool down” room. He was pretty upset in there, but eventually calmed down, apologized and his beloved stuffed animal that had been lost was found. The day had been a mix of changed plans and Michael had seemed a little on the tired side, not an excuse I know, but a fact. After he had calmed down and apologized, I did his therapeutic massage and then he went to his bedroom to lie down. Our new routine is that he calls me when he is ready to be tucked in. He likes the way I tuck the covers under his feet and shoulders. This is something I used to love as a child when my Mom did it, I sensed he might like it too. After he called out, I went to his room to say our final goodnight where I usually put the blankets on then lots of little hugs followed by a big hug happen and I say a quick prayer as well as I love you. That night though Michael surprised me. Before I could say the prayer, Michael spoke up:

“Mommy, I want you to know I talk to God sometimes and I thank him for my health, my family, my home, food, and all the things I have. I don’t pray to him out loud like you do, but I think about these things. I know it’s not as good as what you do, but it’s a start, right?”

It took me a minute to catch my breath and not start to cry. I could not believe what I was hearing! He was getting the very important spiritual message I was not pressing on him, but demonstrating through my own short prayers and life. He was getting the message about living mindfully, being grateful, and in my case, trying to show him how God could be accessed in small moments, not just in one place or time. And the beliefs that he was not alone, were coming through.

“Michael, that is good. God knows what’s in your heart always. He knows what a special boy you are and good person. He helped us find Barney, you know. I prayed for Him to help us and show us the way.”

Michael looked at me in shock, then a little smile spread across his face.

“I’m so proud of you Michael. I love you.”

“I love you too Mommy.”

And that’s when we did our hugs, I said my short prayer and left his room, full of such joy an peace. After a tough night and some ups and downs in the day, this was a wonderful way to end the day.

Exceptional Parents, how many times have your Exceptional Children surprised you by doing something incredible? Remember in that moment, that is who they are, and what they are capable of. You must never lose sight of their potential, or your own, as their Exceptional Parent. When you have tough days and moments, remember that is what you are working with them to bring out all the time. It will come as they learn how to manage their emotion and their strengths. Until next time.

Mother/Son Bonding And How Change Can Bring Exceptional Families Closer

It is the morning that Michael heads out to winter camp with his school for two nights and three days. It is his second year going and he is so excited as am I! Last year we were all “nervous excited”. Dad and I knew he would enjoy the time with friends, activities, but worried about his sleeping regime. At home that was still a major challenge last year. But this year his sleeping is going relatively well, he knows what to expect at camp as do Dad and I, and Dad and I have even scheduled in a little late afternoon spa and dinner getaway this year. It is more relaxing all around already due to the familiarity of everything for all of us. What has also been surprising is Michael’s affectionate attitude towards Dad and I the last few days. He has been listening better. He has been calmer. And he was so happy that I was postponing my writing work until after he went to bed to have quality time with him. He said as much.

I think even when we are there for our children in concrete ways, they sense if we are not present spiritually and mentally with them as we are physically. Many children act out in order to get attention from us as they feel like we are tolerating them, when really it is just the opposite. Parents are overwhelmed by so much these days. They barely have the fuel to keep going and often are exhausted. But their kids need to know they matter at the top of the list. I have started showing Michael this in many ways, by taking care to talk to him, spend time hugging and cuddling, and reminding him that he is the top over everything else. In whatever way it works, most parents need to know their child and how to remind them that they matter above all else, particularly before a big change like sleep away camp, a big event at school, or something else that matters.

Exceptional Parents, how do you show your Exceptional Child that they are top in your books? How do you make “special time” with them? It is important to verbally reinforce it with them, and then physically deliver. Stop looking at your phone every five seconds. Guilty of that one myself as charged. When kids feel you are connected to them on every level, they will not act out and test at all or as much. They will know that you, their parent, are there to help them through the next hurdle. Until next time.

Surprises On The Autism Path-Development and Revisiting Our Own Limitations

Today I finally read the Occupational Therapist’s report on Michael’s progress in his last OT Workshop. He participates in many of these sessions that work on fine motor development with hand writing, manipulating objects, cutting and pasting in crafts as well as gross motor strength. I have learned over the years that all these skills the rest of us NT people take for granted learning, are hard for kids with developmental delays and autism. As tears threatened to fill my eyes, I read, as usual, how Michael mastered yet another skill like cutting a shape out of construction paper, or twirling a pencil, which is something he could not do in the fall when he started. There are always so many obstacles he overcomes and everywhere on the paper it is written how cheerfully he cooperated and how much fun he had. My heart both breaks for the difficulties he has to face in learning things the rest of us take for granted along with the pride in his victories and the gains he has made.

But then the hard part for me as an Exceptional Mom comes. The part where the therapist mentions “continuing his gains” by practicing the following exercises at home whenever we have a chance. And they are never difficult or expensive per se. But Michael would never do them with me. I always would feel like a failure as a parent that I could not continue the therapist’s work at home on weekends or holidays or summer vacation. Yesterday morning was no exception after I read the note. Except. Except something amazing happened. He was home on a “Snow Day” the whole day. The weather was terrible. I had to work. After playing the inevitable games by himself and watdching a movie he was getting antsy. I sucked in my breath and decided to dare it. I suggested going to Pinterest and finding a craft activity together that we could do. I almost fell  off my chair when he agreed. He blew me away! He did most of it himself and when I praised him, I saw the look of pride, happiness and excitement that he had created something. He even complimented me on my craft abilities, which suck by the way. I told him that and you know what he said?
“Mommy, don’t say that. I think you’re good at crafts.”

The child raising the parent. The child trying something new when the parent had almost given up. I was shown an amazing lesson by Michael today. 1) I am not a failure as a Mom if I can’t get him to do crafts and 2) I should never give up trying new things, with him and alone.

Exceptional Parents, what kind of surprises are your Exceptional Children capable of if you throw them a curve ball or something different? Don’t give up on something because it has not worked in the past. Keep trying. Keep believing. And always know your child will surprise you for the better if you give them the chance. Remind them they can do anything as can you!

Are you looking to make changes in your special needs parenting life? Do you need support on your journey?  I am a writer and parent coach who is passionate about empowering parents to trust their own instinct when raising their exceptional children with autism, and remembering that parenthood is as much a journey for us as childhood is for our children. For more information on my parent coaching programs, and to book a FREE 30 Minute Consultation Session, see my website: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

JANUARY SPECIAL: Refer a friend to a six month program, and receive 2 one on one coaching sessions with me at 50% off

Looking to make a fresh start in 2017 with the way you handle anxiety in your special needs family? Download my FREE EBOOK: “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS

 

 

Learning to Live in the Moment of Christmas With My Exceptional Son

Each Christmas has posed its own challenges for me as an Exceptional Mom. And every year, I have made the same promise to myself; that I will not get overwhelmed myself, get angry, and feel stressed when I can’t help Michael. I have usually failed in having this success at going with the flow of the holidays for one simple reason;  I was just saying words. The words were lovely in essence, but I wasn’t really practicing what I was preaching; tolerance for things not going exactly according to plan, worries about other member of my family or friends judging my parenting decisions, and my own little girl notions of what a “perfect” family Christmas should be. Heck, even my friends with neuro typical kids don’t experience that perfect a Christmas. But what could I say? I was a perfectionist. Now, I am a realist. I make mistakes with Michael. I make personal mistakes too. But that critical inner voice, the one that used to tell me I was stupid and something was wrong with me is gone. The hard work I started doing years ago has paid off, and though there are still things I am working on to improve in myself, the process is gentle and loving now, as I would do with Michael.

What is different about this year is that I know Christmas won’t be perfect. I don’t want perfection anymore. What I want is the best Christmas I and my family can have within our emotional parameters. I also remind myself what I have always known, but this year due to work and Michael’s exta challenges, I got away from. All cliches aside, Christmas is not about presents, decorations, or parties. It’s about a feeling deep down inside of light, peace, gratitude, helping others and goodness. Whether you celebrate  Christmas, Hanukkah, Qwanza, or the Winter Solstice, it’s really all about the same things; light and love coming into the world. It’s about people coming together to bring this light and remember we are all one people. This year I had to miss two Sundays of Church. I did my Advent prayers and lit the candles once a week, but I did not take a lot of time for God and prayer and contemplation like I had planned in between mass and my quick prayers of thanksgiving in morning and at bedtime. No matter. I will start today on Christmas Eve, get immersed in the beauty of Christmas Eve Mass as usual, and I  will continue for the holiday season and beyond to try and be a light in the world for myself, my family, and  others who cross my path. I will be that light for Michael even when we both struggle with peace inside.

Exceptional Parents, do you know that you are the light of your child’s world? The holidays are a great time to connect to whatever religions or spirituality you believe in, if you are a spiritual person. If not, meditation is a wonderful way to connect to a powerful Source, to nature to the Universe and feel recharged and whole. Take this holiday season to slow down. There is no “one” way to celebrate the holidays, other than finding that light inside of yourself, keeping your loved ones near, and remembering to charge your spirit with love and peace to be the best channel for your child. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza and a Blesssed Winter Solstice. Wishing you and your families Happy and Healthy Holidays. Until next time.

am a writer and parent coach at “Exceptional Parenting/Exceptional Balance.” I am passionate about empowering parents to trust their own instinct when raising their exceptional children with autism, and remembering that parenthood is as much a journey for us as childhood is for our children. For more information on my parent coaching programs, and to book a FREE 30 Minute Consultation, see my website: http://www.exceptionalparenting.net

Are you and your exceptional family ready for the holiday season? Do you need new strategies to cope with anxiety and stress? Download my FREE EBOOK on “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.exceptionalparenting.net/EBOOKS